What Will it Come to at the Parma Robber Council?

Submitted by Sam Adams (anonymous contributor).

The OCA Synod and Syosset staff have contacted the police department in Parma, Ohio to alert them of potential protesters who may come to the Parma Robber Council. Security forces have been hired to patrol not only the streets outside Holy Trinity Church in Parma, but will roam the property and inside the Church to maintain order.

Maintain order? What is the Synod and the Syosset gang afraid will happen? People will have an opinion about +Jonah? They may come to support their ousted Metropolitan? That delegates may ask questions of their leaders?

Is this what they think Parma will become?

Will questions be allowed by the laity who are taking time off work or using vacation time to attend the Council? Or will they be ruled out-of-order and the Council Agenda ruled in order without questions or challenges from the floor?

Have these same leaders stopped to ask themselves if the clergy and faithful are upset, should we not ask why? Should we not listen to those voices crying in the wilderness?

Or are we dealing with a fearful Syosset staff that cower before a bellicose and callous member of the Synod who angrily dismisses and shouts down any discussion of Met. Jonah at OCA meetings?

Will the assembled Church in Parma (which may well be a minority of parishes) be told to sit down and shut up by its bishops if we dare to stand up and speak?

Conciliarity? Accountability? Transparency? I guess that means if you are in charge, you can define these terms any way you wish.


  1. ItWontBeLong says

    George, the question you raise they’ve already answered, for they know the clergy and laity are upset or else they wouldn’t have hired troops to “maintain order.” You are absolutely correct that the question they refuse answer (or even admit for consideration) is WHY.

    Once again, George, you “tell it like it is”: “Conciliarity? Accountability? Transparency? If you are in charge (and you have no fear of God or His truth or justice), you can define these terms any way you wish.”

    Thank about what Syosset and the bishops are doing: Rejecting the way of humility, honesty and public repentance for slandering Metropolitan JONAH, and instead paying mercenaries for crowd control because they know Christians are upset over their injustices. Is this the way of Christ?

    • OCA: What Church Leadership Needs Doesn’t Want to Know Hear.

      Have you seen Alexei Krindatch’s PDF that was just presented to the OCA MC?


      The cartoon at the beginning of this statistical survey must have given upset stomachs to the Lesser Synod members who were present. Krindatch is gutsy.

      • Ivan Vasililev says

        The cartoon may be whatever it may be; the report is well worth looking at.

        • Dear Ivan,

          I thought the statistics were thought provoking, but was waiting for the analyses and suggestions. The ROCOR data would be suggestive. Without the analyses and suggestions, the nice graphs end up being “Oh! So?”

          We ought be taking church attendance on a weekly basis and comparing with attendance at great feasts. We could be discussing how, even in big city cathedrals with many attached clergy, we seemingly cannot have a liturgy or liturgy and matins every day and a vespers or vigil every evening. Even in countries where the attendance among Orthodox is pathetic on a weekly basis, the clergy do the right thing and in every city you know where you can go to the services no matter what day.

          The cartoon was pretty safe, no particular bravery. By MC, do you mean the Metropolitan Council? To which jurisdiction does he belong? Seems he is GOA It is not clear at his research website:


          His institute has an interesting page on homosexual inclusion in various religions:


          • DCOrthodox says

            Here here, LOH!

            The question of daily services in the parishes, or at least a fuller liturgical calendar, is something I have been pushing for in my parish for a while. Here in the Washington, D.C., one of the fullest liturgical cycles, even compared to the three cathedral churches (St. Nicholas OCA, St. John ROCOR and St. Sophia GOA) is St. Theodore’s in Lanham, which is served by a single, ailing Metropolitan, PANTELEIMON. Despite his illness, he served (until the past few months) just as many weekday Liturgies as most parishes regardless of jurisdiction, in addition to weekly Saturday evening Vespers and Vespers for Great Feasts and saints’ days.

            In Greece, even small parish churches often serve 3 or 4 weekday liturgies during any given week, with Vespers the evening before and Matins in the morning. Walking into any given church in Athens around 5 or 6 PM, there is a good chance you will be present for the start of Vespers.

            In my opinion, the liturgy and the liturgical life of the church is the center of our experience as Orthodox Christians, and we need a revitalization of our liturgical life in order to begin any renewal of the Church in America.

            • Dear DCOrthodox,

              I see we agree. There is also Father David Subu Protection of the Theotokos in Falls Church, Va for fuller complement of services than usual. I also think that these daily services ought be in English or the language of the people (how about modern Greek or Russian instead of Slavonic and koine?) present, if possible. And, with one in five locals a Spanish speaker, even one of our forty churches could have a Spanish liturgy, perhaps. I find it kind of sad to attend weekday liturgies where the sermons were in Russian as if the only people likely to behave as Orthodox are diaspora. I really want American Orthodoxy to succeed in its own autocephalous church. People could start to develop a mindset where attending vigils and vespers is a kind of necessity like breathing and where coming in halfway through the liturgy is a shameful thing it takes you a couple weeks to get over.

              • DCOrthodox says

                I cannot speak to the Russian Churches, but save for St. Theodore in Lanham (which is a very ethnic parish, and intentionally so), every GOA church in the area regularly has the sermon given in only English.

                I certainly think that the services should be majority English in most parishes, but there is no need to eliminate the Church Slavonic or, especially, the koine/Byzantine Greek, in which the hymns were originally written. I find it impossible to chant the hymns which have been “translated” into modern Greek, as they lose much of their poetry and beauty.

                Finally, I would love to see more people at Great Vespers (Greek style)/ Vigil (Russian style), and arriving on time to the Liturgy, but we should not try to shame people into coming on time, but rather instilling in them a love of the corporate, liturgical worship of the Body of Christ, where they will want to attend as much as they can.

            • Make a commitment to your parish that you will pay your priest an adequate salary so that he doesn’t have to find secular employment. Then, make a commitment to your parish that you will pay a chanter an adequate salary so that he doesn’t have to find outside employment. Then, make a commitment to your parish that you will take care of the upkeep of the church, the baking of prosphora, the cleaning of the gutters, etc., etc., so that the priest can focus on the services. In that case, your parish will be able to have a full daily cycle of services.

    • No, it is not the way of Christ…

      More like the way of the Scribes, the Pharisees and Caesar…

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      Sam Adams is more than an excellent beer, it is also the name of a leader of the rebels in Boston. I suspect that is why this article is illustrated by Paul Revere’s famous drawing of the Boston Massacre.

      • October 3, 2012
        Help delegates from Alaska, Mexico attend the 17th All-American Council
        SYOSSET, NY [OCA]

        Crucial to the success of the 17th All-American Council, slated to convene at Holy Trinity Church, Parma, OH on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, is a full complement of delegates representing parishes of every diocese of the Orthodox Church in America.

        In an effort to assist delegates from the Dioceses of Alaska and Mexico, for whom travel costs easily can approach the astronomical, a special appeal has been issued with the concurrence of the Metropolitan Council to raise $15,000.00 to help offset expenses.

        “As we gather for the important task of selecting a new Primate, we need to have as much representation as we can, and every diocese should be well represented,” said Hieromonk David [Mahaffey], who was recently nominated by the Diocese of Alaska to fill the vacant See of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska. “For the majority of the delegates, their travel and lodging will be a sacrifice of their parishes’ time, talent and treasure. But for the Dioceses of Alaska and Mexico, the expense can be ‘a burden grievous to be borne.’

        “For Alaskan residents, a ticket from the Anchorage hub to Cleveland can cost nearly $800.00—if purchased today; in a few weeks, a ticket can cost over $1,000.00,” Father David observed. “Add to this the cost of getting from a local village to Anchorage, which can cost as much or more than the flight to Cleveland, and the expense can indeed be burdensome, especially for those who support themselves and their families on subsistence fishing and hunting. Mexico is in a similar position, and while fares may be slightly less than those from Alaska, the rate of peso-to-dollar exchange is not especially favorable.”

        Ensuring that the Dioceses of Alaska and Mexico are well represented at the Council is possible with sacrifice, conviction, and commitment, however.

        “If we can secure about $15,000.00 now—by mid-October—we will be able to fund delegates from our oldest and youngest dioceses,” Father David adds. “We hope that many will respond to this worthwhile endeavor.”

        Those clergy and faithful who wish to assist their “northernmost” and “southernmost” brothers and sisters participate in the important and historic 17th All-American Council are invited to send donations to the Orthodox Church in America, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791. Please make checks payable to the “Orthodox Church in America,” writing “17th AAC Travel Fund” in the memo line. All donations will be used exclusively for their intended purposes, and accounted for accordingly.

        “We’re counting on many of our faithful to ‘step up to the challenge’ by responding to this appeal and to help those for whom attendance normally would be out of reach participate in the Council as the valuable members of the OCA that they indeed are,” Father David added.

        • If getting delegates from Alaska and Mexico is crucial to the success of the Parma Council, then this AAC is in bigger trouble than even I thought, and that is saying something!

          Could it be that the number of registrants to Parma is so weak that unless they ship in more clergy from Alaska and Mexico, there may not be enough to nominate a Metropolitan?

          Maybe the synod and MC should have not held an AAC so soon. Maybe the synod shouldn’t have pushed Jonah out so that parishes as far away as Alaska and Mexico, let alone those in the lower 48 (what about Hawaii) have to spend a ton of money for a one-day event.

          Here’s another challenge, the synod begs forgiveness of the members of the OCA for putting us through this mess and forcing us to spend money that is unnecessary.

        • Do not supply the funds through the OCA. Find an individual to help. You can not trust them to let anyone come who has been elected. So Sad but true.

        • ChristineFevronia says

          Our new correspondent Thomas Paine apparently has some cots or some room on his floor, for these Mexicans and Alaskans…

  2. To paraphrase Tolkien: “So many strange things have chanced that to learn penitence under the loving strokes of a policeman’s baton will seem no great wonder.”

  3. I don’t disagree with what your writing but I sure hope the hiring of a security force is simply a protection against those who seek to hurt and violently protest against the Church.
    There’s such a spirit of fear in our society today.

    • Did the Synod ask for police help before each AAC?

      • All in the Family says

        There has never been police protection at an AAC. Sounds like someone is playing “Chicken Little” to the Synod and Syosset. This would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.


    Leave the bishops to play with themselves, church.


    Jonah is in the gulag!


    • No, don’t boycott Parma. Come to vote, or protest. They are expecting us! Why should we disappoint them?

      • I found a place, where one can print a nice big colorful banner just for 13 dollars. My only concern is the weather. We should pray for clear skies.

        • Don’t forget to get a permit for protest, if one is required there.

          • No we don’t need a permit to protest. Only the police department should be informed about the protest.

            • Despite my earlier rant, you may in fact all be right. But WHAT IF THEY GAVE AN AAC, AND NOBODY CAME?

              I think these people are all very scary.

              Thank goodness they haven’t forbidden prayer.

    • No, do NOT boycott Parma. That would give the OCA away by playing into the hands of those who want to simply SAY they held a council and “elected” a Metropolitan, and all is going along just fine and dandy.

      Go to Parma, even if it is a Robber Council. Speak the truth in love, and vote Metropolitan JONAH.

      The “powers that be” will not “count” a vote for Metropolitan JONAH in all probability (unless there are enough delegates to actually take over the council), but such a vote sends a very clear message of rebuke to our elders. And perhaps, some of them might fear God enough to act differently.

      • Eleni Palmos says

        The Orthodox have to save themselves and leave this jurisdiction. It is done. The best thing for the OCA now is to complete its falling apart. Even if you bring +Jonah back, what will he do? What can possibly be accomplished?

        • So quick to write the obituary. You know it’s interesting…this blog has essentially become OCANews II. Congratulations George.

          While the loss of +Jonah is a tragedy the OCA will survive. The big question is who is next? +Philip’s not looking too good and the Patriarchate of Antioch is in a precarious position. Then there are the Greeks… When the dust settles my money is on ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate but I’ll stay and labor in the OCA until I have to make choice (if ever but I suspect I wont).

          Politics is not heresy and yet this blog does a good job of presenting that confusion.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Andreas, you raise several questions. We must get to the heart of the matter: we Orthodox (myself included) have lost the capacity to love. The ACOB is merely a manifestation of this. Certainly the intense hatred displayed by people in Syosset and certain bishops towards Jonah is another example.

            Another thread, re: the Petitions.

            To all who think that a body which supposedly acts “unanimously” and therefore cannot be wrong, please remember the multiple exiles of John Chrysostom or Athanasius the Great. These men were punished by the Church, not the State and the men who exiled them thought that they were doing the Lord’s will. I for one am willing to admit the possibility that the Synod/Syosset/MP Apparat acted correctly. I am also humble enough to look back at past actions done by bishops in council and see that they were wrong. What troubles me greatly is that Jonah’s antagonists cannot consider the possibility that they may be wrong.

            Hence, these petitions which were crafted by some miscreant are particularly troubling, especially the last one which is vicious beyond words. They tell me in the aggregate that the Apparat are not capable of repentance. Because of their apparent self-righteousness, I’m afraid that the Lord’s wrath will be poured upon our heads.

            Andreas, this brings me back to your premise: because we have tempted the Lord with our lack of humility, judgment awaits us. So, no, I’m sorry to say that the OCA will not be just fine. You yourself admit that you have an exit strategy.

            • Andreus and George, I do not understand how the FRAMING of +Met Jonah going on for the last at least 2+ years, can be just considered politics. When you ignore that, it looks to me like collaboration.
              You choose.

              • There is an excellent book by Runciman called “The Great Church in Captivity”. I suggest anyone who finds the current state of the OCA appalling to read it. What we are seeing is nothing compared to what the Greeks did to themselves under the Turks. Yes this is politics in action.

                Now, if our bishops openly preach what George has suggested the views some hold (ie contrary views on homosexuality etc…) then it will be heresy and a completely different situation. But, until such time there is no need to be alarmed, discouraged, disillusioned, or even jump to a different jurisdiction. The grass is always greener and if recent history serves then another jurisdiction is due for turmoil as well. The Old Believers made a more extreme mistake several hundred years ago in response to the so called Nilonian reforms. I personally think this is going to continue until the faithful in this country, of all jurisdictions, are so battered and bruised philitism will seem like a minor obstacle and a welcome one to forget about.

            • George, allowing for the possibility that Met. Jonah broke the rules does not mean accepting that the Synod/Syosset et al. acted correctly. The method by which he was removed from office was an outrageous abuse of power and authority, and a complete denial of due process, regardless of the circumstances that precipitated it.

              When we have someone dead to rights for doing something horrible, we still allow them due process: pleading innocent or guilty, a chance for a trial or at least a chance to plead for the court’s mercy, etc. Met. Jonah had none of that. They meant him to stay quiet about everything, but apparently he disputes both the base accusations as well as the means by which his resignation was brought about.

              If they had him dead to rights, why did they force him through these underhanded means, instead of confronting him personally? If they wanted to do this above-board, why didn’t they take him to ecclesiastical court and allow him due process?

              I think we know the answers to both of these questions: they couldn’t, because any true and fair proceeding would not have caused Met. Jonah to be removed. Hence the ecclesiastical assassination.

              • Rdr. James says

                Even a CEO who loses money for the corporation is generally awarded a golden parachute so he will leave quietly! Where is Metr. Jonah’s? Just a few months of salery and housing, then fuggitabout! Not very Christian, if I understand the term.

            • George,

              What is the purpose of beating this old drum? For the sake of argument let’s say you were right all along and Met. Jonah didn’t get a fair shake. He will never ever be restored to his former position nor will he be given another See. Perhaps if he truly repents and accepts guidance from his Senior Hierarchs he might be allowed to be an Auxiliary Bishop. You and your fellow supporters are not doing him any favors by your constant backbiting, harsh words. and schismatic delusions. It is time for all fo you to mourn the loss, accept it, and move on. Your energies would be better spent trying to move the OCA forward.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Geo, why should he “repent” if you yourself admit (if only for the sake of argument) that we “were right all along” and he was acted upon unjustly? Don’t you see the illogic of your own argument? Should the rape victim repent because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time? The family whose house was burgled?

                • George,

                  I apologize for not being clear. Also I want to thank you for letting me post here even though we almost never agree. My first point was:”For the sake of argument let’s say you were right all along and Met. Jonah didn’t get a fair shake. He will never ever be restored to his former position nor will he be given another See.”

                  After that I should have transitioned in some fashion to the fact that I do believe that Met Jonah was wrong and then made the rest of my statement:”Perhaps if he truly repents and accepts guidance from his Senior Hierarchs he might be allowed to be an Auxiliary Bishop. You and your fellow supporters are not doing him any favors by your constant backbiting, harsh words. and schismatic delusions. It is time for all fo you to mourn the loss, accept it, and move on. Your energies would be better spent trying to move the OCA forward.”

                  I wrote my response rather quickly and have not been back to review until today.

                  Another poster asked what does moving forward mean? To me it means that the next person to wear the white hat is the right man for the job. A hierarch that has proven himself to be a capable administrator as well as a person of holiness. If we don’t have that then we should hold off on electing someone just for the sake of going through the motions.

                  Personally after this last experiment I think youth will be seen as a negative.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Geo, how can you say that HB is a man without “sanctity” and “holiness”? How for that matter can you say that he should “repent”? For what, being conspired against?

                    • Wow. How did you get that out of my post? I am sure that His Eminence Jonah is a Holy Person. However, he was a terrible Metropolitan and I am sure that he made many mistakes and sinned just like the rest of us. He obviously was constantly in a state of tension with his brother bishops, the MC, and the officers of the church and they tried to help him out more than once. He just wasn’t cut out for the job (which he admitted more than once) and he pushed his own agenda.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Geo, please forgive me for misunderstanding you. That being said, he is still “Metropolitan Jonah” and I continue to wait for evidence that he was a “terrible Metropolitan.”

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                You should also consider the possibility that maybe it is his Senior Hierarchs are the ones who may be in the wrong in this case.

                • Roboacolyte says

                  I agree with George.The reason there is security in Parma is because you people are a bunch of unrepentant goons that will stop at nothing to try to prove an agenda rooted in hate and slander.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    If you say so.

                  • Oh for pity’s sake. If I hear another supposed Irthodox Christian derogatorily refer to their fellow Orthodox brothers and sisters as “you people” I’ll weep. So much for loving one’s enemy, let alone one’s own brother. These “people” are the people of God too, and are exasperated at the dysfunction of the OCA. You can’t blame them. When the general “hidden” and lingering dysfunction was finally manifested by the acting out of Mets. Theodosius and Herman, it showed a problem that wasn’t just about these two people. It evidenced that there was a problem in the institution. That problem is deep seated, and ingrown over decades. It was so bad that people began to despair. The larger OCA wanted an absolute reset, while the lingering historic ingrained OCA leadership wanted to hold on to some of the old. Speaking of repentance, it means “change one’s mind.” This means a 180 degree about face and total change of life. One can not hold onto “the old.” The OCA wanted to demonstrate repentance to the people, but didn’t really desire the change needed to “change one’s mind.” Thus, the OCA is still demonstrating the same spirit and dysfunction that produced the Mets Theodosis and Herman debacles.

                    The problem “these people” have – is having valid concerns for the OCA out of love for Christ and the Church. They speak from their Gid-given right, and also the “free speech” in Amercia and rather than “man up” and hear their concerns, are discounted, ignored, and insulted, rather than given ear. This is a manifestation of the same old dysfunction. It’s seen as a reversion back to the old dysfunctional model. When people have concern, the silent treatment rather makes the concern worse.

                    It is the responsibility of the leadership of the church to maintain its conciliar nature, along with the hierarchical, which means hearing ALL, not just the privileged. In conciliarity, the body’s voice occurs naturally, not via manipulation of the body. One hears “we are a hierarchical church” which of course is absolutely true, as long as the paradox of the church also being conciliar is maintained. Currently, there are people with real concerns who are being rejected by the leadership. Even if they are a bunch of kooks, they are still Orthodox people with a voice. And the right and truthful thing to do is hear all, even if it is uncomfortable.

                  • Funny, by “you people” I thought Robo was speaking directly to the OCA synod.

              • Will Harrington says

                Forward to what? Such phrases truly sound wonderful but are completely useless without some sort of definition. Everything you have accused others of can, with nothing but a change in names be laid at the feet of the OCA bishops. However, rhetoric and bad arguments often work but when they do, problems are rarely solved. I find mysolf thankful that I am no longer in an area where the OCA is an option. When the argument essentially comes down to one side saying there is a problem and it must be dealt with while the other side says ” no there isn’t, sit down and shut up” I have little hope that the argument can be settled. Here is the truth. This is the Orthodox witness to America.

            • Thomas Mathes says

              George, I do believe the imperial court had a hand in the exiles of St. John Chrysostom. Theophilos, Patriarch of Alexandria, and his synod would not have been able to condemn the Patriarch of Constantinople without the support of important people in the Imperial Court, in particular Eudoxia. Also, St. John appealed to the bishops in the West, and the patriarchal see of Rome refused to recognize his deposition and even tried to intervene. Failing that, Rome refused to recognize any successor to St. John until his death. So far I have not heard of any patriarch refusing to recognize the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah. At this point, I am waiting to see if they will acknowledge the bishop elected at Parma as the new OCA metropolitan. If they all do, then he is; if they don’t, ….

          • Will Harrington says

            Politics can, indeed be heresy. Communism has strong elements of Chiliasm as do most leftist politics that strive to create a utopia of some sort. Far right christian politics also partakes of philitism. That sound bite won’t hunt. Heresy has almost always involved and influenced politics. Just sayin.

      • The only AAC I know about was Seattle, and for that one if you wanted to go as an “observer” you had to pay $60.00 a day and send in an application way ahead of time. It also had to be signed by your priest and bishop.

        It seems that the demonstration of the faithful Orthodox will be made clear of the church entrance and grounds.That’s Ok, but the signs and “SONGS must be loud and clear.
        Maybe Veronica can lead the singing?
        Pass out music, and umbrellas and pocket warmers.!
        Maybe someone from that area can identify where parking and public bathrooms are located. It ought to be a beautiful day to join the Lord in Loud prayer no matter the weather or outcome.

        • Someone bring a Bell!

          • I also feel that it will be a beautiful day. If we defend the Church, if we stand up together, even when there is no hope, God is with us. Music will accompany the show, no doubt about it. I can’t guarantee the LOUD music, I can’t provide loudspeakers, but it will be prayerful.

    • Are you saying that the OCA is LIKE the KGB ?

      Or that the OCA should PART COMPANY WITH the nefarious organization??
      I am heavily in favor of the latter….

  5. The 17th AAC, brought to you by Richard J. Daley.

    • Ivan Vasililev says

      I don’t know. Perhaps the 17th Party Congress, brought to you by Comrade Stalin? The historical 17th Party Congress (of the happily deceased USSR) was held in January-February 1934. It set the scene for the Great Purges.

  6. I don’t understand how that fits in with our Lord’s instructions to “feed my sheep”?

  7. Thomas Mathes says

    If the Patriarchs and autocephalous churches recognize the OCA Metropolitan elected at Parma, then it won’t be a “robber council.” Consider the case of Patriarch Irenaeus of Jerusalem. No one disputed that he was duly elected, and the other orthodox churches recognized him for a time. He was never charged with violating the canons. He remains an orthodox bishop; he was never deposed. He never resigned as patriarch. But the Ecumenical Patriarch and other patriarchs removed their recognition of Irenaeus, and gave permission to the synod of Jerusalem to elect a new Patriarch. Now Theophilus is Patriarch of Jerusalem. The principle is simple: if the other churches recognize someone as the primate of a church, he is regardless of canonical irregularities.

    • Eleni Palmos says

      You are wrong.Theophilos is – by no stretch of the imagination – the Patriarch of Jerusalem. That kangaroo court that Constantiople held in May 2005 is to its eternal shame. I was in Jerusalem and am an eyewitness to the intrigues that went down there.There is only one Patriarch in Jerusalem and he is locked up in his house, not being wined and dined and traveling to and fro like so many of the other “hierarchs” in the Orthodox Church. He is living a life of self-denial, prayer and fasting. Don’t think Patriarch Bartholomew is resting easy with the situation he created.

    • Eleni Palmos says

      You are wrong.Theophilos is by no stretch of the imagination the Patriarch of Jerusalem. That kangaroo court that Constantiople held in May 2005 is to its eternal shame. I was in Jerusalem and am an eyewitness to the intrigues that went down there.There is only one Patriarch in Jerusalem and he is locked up in his house, not being wined and dined and traveling to and fro like so many of the other “hierarchs” in the Orthodox Church. He is living a life of self-denial, prayer and fasting. Don’t think Patriarch Bartholomew is resting easy with the situation he created.

      • Thomas Mathes says

        What Orthodox Church still recognizes Irenaeus as the current Patriarch of Jerusalem? None. What Orthodox Churches recognize Theophilos as Patriarch of Jerusalem? All of them. When the Patriarch of Moscow goes to Jerusalem in November, he will treat Theophilos as Patriarch, no one else. For laity or clergy to treat Theophilos otherwise is flirting with schism from the Orthodox Church.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        Irenaeus was deposed because he betrayed his people who are Palestinian, by selling land to the Israelis. He was deposed by the leadership of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem before the Ecumenical Patriarch called the meeting of the representatives of the autocephalous Churches that recognized his removal. The whole situation on Jerusalem is a scandal. The hierarchy is dominated by foreigners. I have a friend, who tried to sing “Christ is risen…” in Arabic in the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulcher) in Jerusalem and was told by a Greek monk that chanting is not allowed in Arabic in the Church. The Israeli government pressures the Patriarch to sell Church owned lands to be used for more illegal settlements on the West Bank. Fox news showed Irenaeus’ supporters carrying bags of money out of his headquarters before he was finally ousted for his corruption. The Ecumenical Patriarch and the other autocephalous Churches of Orthodoxy acted correctly to ratify his removal. Significantly, the Israeli government refused to recognize the right of the Church to remove him. They wanted him to stay because he had cooperated with them.

    • Disgusted With It says

      That sounds right to me. And by that logic, the fact that 2/3 of the world’s Orthodox Churches do NOT recognize the OCA as autocephalous means that the OCA is NOT autocephalous.

      • Thomas Mathes says

        Good point. As others have pointed out, this claim of the OCA is now probably more of a bargaining chip than anything else in the very long process of developing a united and independent Orthodox Church in the United States. While I don’t expect to see that in my life time, I do see movement in that direction even today, even in the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. God is at work even when patriarchs and bishops scheme; they cannot control what the Lord will do with their clever plans.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Previous to the recent unpleasantness, the OCA did have a “bargaining chip” with its autocephaly. This however has been thrown away with all the alacrity of a man running down the street naked with his hair on fire.

          Consider: even Kishkovsky admitted to the MC that he and Bp Alexander were treated contemptuously by the MP.

          Consider: Bp Alexander, in an affected British accent no less (he’s from Tarzana, California for heaven’s sake!), tried to uphold the OCA’s autocephaly in the recently concluded ACOB. He was widely ignored.

          Consider: the fact that Syosset cannot get its act together regarding whether Jonah is “retired” or not shows that for awhile now, the OCA brings nothing to the table vis-a-vis American Orthodoxy. I know that the other eparchies are essentially foreign colonies, that being said, why would any Serbian, Greek, or ethnic bishop want to put themselves under a soviet-style leadership as exemplified by Syosset?

          And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sorry, but unless there is genuine repentance and HB is restored (whether he wants it or not is immaterial), the “OCA experiment” will be viewed as a nice try at best, but ultimately a failure.

          • I’m at a loss to understand just what “bargaining chip” the OCAs’ autocephaly had (per George M.) or now has (per Thomas M.) with regard to its place and influence in the EA. As things stand now, it will never be “the elephant in the room” of the EA assemblies that the OCAers hoped it would be.

            • Defend the Faith says


              The “bargaining chip” that George refers to is certainly a past-tense reference. It was not that long ago that the OCA had good and fruitful working relationships with all Orthodox jurisdictions here. They were built on mutual respect, a cooperative spirit and within the reality that the OCA experiment could have been transformed into a united Orthodox Church here, not by domination but in a spirit of self-emptying. That is why Metropolitan Theodosius received a standing ovation at the AAC in Pittsburgh in 1999 when he said that “if unity of all Orthodox in this land means that the OCA disappears so that there can be truly one Church, then the OCA is willing to be that agent of change.” (I paraphrase but not to change the true spirit of +Theodosius words.)

              Sadly, we now see how quickly the OCA has fallen into a sect-like jurisdiction with little concern how its actions impact the rest of the Orthodox witness here, even to the point that Fr. Kishkovsky’s attempt to present “Prince Golitzen” to the ROC, was rejected. Even to the point that the same Fr. Kishkovsky had to report to the bishops and the assembled MC last week in NY that Moscow supports our autocephaly in public but is “working behind the scenes to undermine the OCA.” Of course, that was a feeble attempt at face-saving trying to make a disastrous trip more palatable. The truth is that Moscow has lost faith in the OCA.

              The fact remains that the OCA is rudderless, adrift not only here but seen so around the world. Its contacts with Russia are at best formal and not fraternal and its relations with Constantinope are next to non-existant. George is spot-on when he reports that Bp. Alexander’s attempt at the EA to promote the OCA was met with silence. And why should it not? We have proven by our actions that we are a hollow shell of what could have been and only those who refuse to look at the painful reality continue to promote the OCA as something it was but is no more.

              Some here have said that delegates should vote for no candidate in Parma from the OCA Synod. That is a mistake. Everyone who attends Parma and have a vote should vote on the first ballot. If they think the current Synod is not worthy of being elected Metropolitan, then they should vote for +Jonah or Pat. Kirill or some other candidate. It may be that only then the rest of the Orthodox world will see in very concrete terms that we the faithful, clergy and lay, are sick of this leadership and wish to take back our Church from those who have robbed us. We may be told to sit down and shut up, that our concerns are of no concern to this Synod, but at least we can stand before our Lord and Saviour on Judgement Day and plead that at least we tried to right the ship that was once known as the OCA.

              • Defend the Faith, thanks for your reply. Now I’m only in the dark about what Thomas Mathes meant when he said:
                October 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm
                “this claim of the OCA is now probably more of a bargaining chip than anything else in the very long process of developing a united and independent Orthodox Church in the United States.”

            • Sorry to let the cat out of the bag but the EA is in effect dead. From what I can tell it is stagnant, falling into a state akin to SCOBA. There is no real enthusiasm for administrative unity, and mostly it is lip service. If the point of all those committees was to be ready to present our case to the Great and Holy Council, then we will not be ready. Nothing is truly happening to truly bring unity in America. More and more the laos just have to take it in the jaw.

              Why oh why, can the hierarchy not get on board with a greater vision and then do something? I guess we are to be content with the way things have always been, and chuck any momentum we have gained. I guess it’s back to the ethnic enclaves with the spirit of hoarding the True Faith, intended only for certain chosen ethnicities. Boo!

              • George Michalopulos says

                Lord Save, we –the Laity–could do something if we had a viable model to show the other ethnic jurisdictions. We did, under Jonah anyway. That’s been tossed out the window right now. I hate to admit this (because I would be subscribing to the heresy of phyletism) but if I were an American Orthodox of Albanian, Bulgarian, Greek, etc., heritage, I would not want to unite my bishops with the vagrants who occupy the OCA’s synod at present. They have two ways of doing things: get rid of primates you don’t like or send them to loony bins run by Catholics.

  8. Brian (the first) says

    Mayor Richard J. Daley (the elder) of Chicago is famous for saying, “Da police are not dere to create disorder. Da police are dere to preserve dis order.”

  9. Satire is too easy with this bunch. The only trouble is deciding which errors to lampoon. It’s a target rich environment.

    Transparency? Their motives are surely transparent by now.

    No Screwtapian missive this week. These guys’ lack of subtlety has deprived me of my main instrument of satire: exposure of that which has been hidden. How do you expose someone who has already exposed themselves?

    But be not dismayed, ye who appreciate my ripoff of CS Lewis. [Both of you.] I’m not hiding. I’m reloading.

  10. Esther Smith Holmes says

    No matter what happens at Parma, George, my husband, Luke Scott, and I want to thank you for providing
    this informative and intelligent blog. When we first became part of the Orthodox Church we read the simple instruction to pray: “Your will, Your mercy”. This prayer applies to everything and I repeat it along with the Jesus Prayer. Now, I cannot think of any better prayer for this current mess and the looming disintegration of our OCA, which brings great sadness.

    • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

      Don’t mean to break the mood, but is your husband the “Luke Scott” MLB player?

  11. Please, fellow Christians,

    It is October tomorrow. Maybe I am wrong but isn’t October when our dear Metropolitan Jonah loses his housing and pay and begins to be starved out of the OCA?

    • loh,

      Met. Jonah will be paid through the end of the year. After that, his dear brothers on the Synod wash their hands of him.

    • Oh good! WWJD? Not what the OCA does!

      Can someone in the know report on His Beatitude, how he is, what he will do, how can we send him money, does anyone know?

      • You can contact George (who runs this wonderful site); no he is not great; he puts ups a good front; but you all are not here to be a witness to it..

    • LOH, I believe they are now paying him through the first part of December.

      But October is a good month to think about and pray for our dear Metropolitan, because his birthday is on the 20th. Let’s pray that God will grant him many years in peace and good health.

      Could we schedule another prayer-time for Metropolitan Jonah on the 14th or 21st?

    • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

      Then what shall his supporters do to assist him?
      Truthfully, I have not made up my mind about the truth a bout His Beatitude Jonah.
      Some of his actions and behavior lead me to question if the Synod is right in removing him.
      I am a trained and licensed professional in human behavior.
      BEFORE you jump all over me, please hear me out.
      I don’ t trust the Synod or administration in Syosett either.

      I DO KNOW this. His Beatitude was pushed out in an unjust and most likely in a non-canonical manner.
      It seems to me he only resigned as Primate and not Abp of Washington– unless the two are someway linked by statute.

      Perhaps His Beatitude should be consulting (and perhaps he is discretely) an Orthodox canonist.

      Certainly hiring security for the AAC to keep the sheep in order is taking a page from the AOANA playbook.

      • pelagiaeast says

        Occidental Guido,

        Today we got our copy of “The Word.” Take a look at p. 16 ff. Get ready to blow a gasket or use a ton of tissues. WHERE is the middle ground these days, please, anyone?????
        Sad in KS, shocked, stunned.

        • Looks like Englewood is turning into Syosset. Talk about centralizing power ! OCA Bishops aren’t as micromanaged as this although maybe they should be. Big difference from the GOAA model where the Metropolitans basically run little fiefdoms. Where does Metropolitan Phillip find the time to do all this managing? Is this in agreement with the Orthodox model of what a Bishop is and does?

          • Mark from the DOS says

            Are there other jurisdictions/national churches where the dioceses are not really dioceses, but sub-units of a bigger “archdiocese”? This strikes me as a strange, non-Orthodox structure, where the bishop is bishop of a diocese, but not really in charge of the diocese.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            Metropolitan Philip is not a micro manager, and never has been. Actually, nothing is any different than it was before all the controversy. The only thing that is different is that it has been made clear that the Metropolitan has authority over the local Bishops. Most of the things in that document had already been decided before the title of the local Bishops was changed to auxiliary. For example, transfers always had to be approved by the Metropolitan. Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals were always registered with the Metropolitan’s office. We have always had to have approval from the Metropolitan to reconcile someone who is divorced to the sacramental life of the Church. Liturgical matters were always dealt with out of his office. All decisions concerning ordination were always made by the Metropolitan’s office. Nothing really has changed, nor should it. We need unity not the division that takes place if every local Bishop acts like he is independent of the rest of the Archdiocese. We do not need the kind of chaos that is destroying the OCA where the local Bishops openly fight with the Metropolitan and the Metropolitan has no authority to do anything without the approval of the local Bishops. After seeing what is going on in the OCA, I feel even stronger that Met. Philip is right to prevent each local Bishop from running their diocese as if they were themselves an autocepahlous Church.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            There is little in those rules that has not been the practice of the Antiochian Archdiocese for at least the last 32 years during which I have been a Priest. We have always registered baptisms, marriages and deaths with the Archdiocese. A person who is divorced has always required the approval of the Metropolitan to be restored to the Sacramental Fellowship of the Church. Ordinations and elevation to the rank of Archimandrite have always required the approval of the Metropolitan. Financial matters have always been under the authority of the Archdiocese. We have always been required to follow the directions of the Metropolitan in liturgical matters. All that has changed is that some powers previously reserved to the Metropolitan have been given to the local Bishops such as blessing men in minor orders, elevating a Priest to the Archpriesthood and approving the elections to the Parish Council. All transfers were always made by the Metropolitan. Now, the local Bishop makes transfers after obtaining the approval of the Metropolitan. At least our Archdiocese puts the rules in writing and distributes to every person in the Archdiocese. Nothing is hidden or done behind closed doors.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I honestly do not understand you people. You fill this blog with posts expressing your distress at the removal of Metropolitan Jonah, who was only a figure head who could do nothing without permission from the diocesan Bishops and criticize Metropolitan Philip because he has taken steps to prevent disintegration of his Archdiocese the way that the OCA and the Greek Archdiocese have disintegrated with each Diocese acting as an independent unit and too little national unity.

              • If history teaches anything it is this: Believing that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” always leads to betrayal.

                Our Gospel readings from yesterday and today seem appropriate to the larger problem.

            • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says

              I guess your perspective is fine…if you’re into this vogue neo-papal ecclesiology & disdain the “traditional” ecclesiology that is unequivocally reflected in the fathers & the canons.

              All sarcasm aside, it is truly disappointing to hear a priest support the introduction of worldly power & ancient Roman heresy in contemporary Church administration. Perhaps you should re-read the canons (there are a great many of them) that discuss the nature of the local Church (i.e. diocese/bishopric) & how the bishops of these contiguous, independent yet interdependent, local Churches function in the dynamic of autonomous & autocephalous Churches. I can assure you that the principles are FAR from Antioch’s current ideology.

              I can anticipate the response: “You don’t know what your talking about. You’re a reactionary fundamentalist.” Maybe, but the alternative is, technically speaking, ecclesiological heresy.

              Just sayin’…

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Your attack on me personally in the last paragraph is unworthy of discussion among Christians. You certainly are out line to call me an heretic because I do not agree with your interpretation of canon law. I am not going to call you a Fundamentalist. However, I do not agree with your interpretation of canon law, although I recognize your right to disagree with my interpretation of the canons which is more consideration than you give me. Here is what the canons actually state:

                From the Apostolic Canons

                Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.)

                The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern his own parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit [some mss. read: through the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father through the Lord by the Holy Spirit, even the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit].

                The United States is one nation and our Metropolitan is first among our Bishops and their head as the canon states. The administration described by the canon is basically the way things work in the Antiochian Archdiocese. The various Dioceses of our Archdiocese are not what you refer to as “contiguous, independent yet interdependent, local Churches..” The system that you favor would make each Bishop his own Metropolitan and would lead to chaos in our Archdiocese. That is not the administration described by the canons. Each Diocese is not an independent local Church. The Dioceses are part of the Archdiocese, which is the local Church or the Church of the nation as defined by the canons. Thus, each Diocese is not autonomous, but is a part of the national Antiochian Archdiocese which as you may know has been given “Self-Rule” status by our Patriarchate. Each Bishop actually runs his own Diocese, but the Metropolitan is very concerned that we remain united as one Archdiocese with common policies, not policies that differ from Diocese to Diocese. We have a local Synod of Bishops as mandated by the canon that works with The Metropolitan to establish those policies.
                I do recognize that the canons are subject to interpretation and the principle of economy allows for some variation from the letter of canon law. Thus other Orthodox may adopt a different administrative model than the Antiochian Archdiocese and still be faithful to the canons. Thus you are wrong to call someone an heretic who does not agree with your personal interpretation of the canons.

                • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says

                  Father, I don’t intend for this to be an insult, but for someone who I would assume is a seminary graduate, I have to tell you that your lack of knowledge regarding ecclesiology, the canons, the fathers & history is absolutely astounding!

                  I’m a primary source guy, and I don’t have much respect for the “…well, in my humble opinion…” approach. There are some things that are really not open to “interpretation” as you put it. Facts are facts, plain & simple.

                  I hope you would agree that the essential theological definition of the Church in all its fullness is the bishop surrounded by his people assembled together as one body celebrating the liturgy. This is expressed most concisely by Sts. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, and Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, both of whom gave their lives in martyrdom in the 2nd and 3rd centuries respectively:

                  Wherever the bishop is to be seen, there let all his people be; just as wherever Jesus Christ is present, we have the catholic Church.
                  St. Ignatius, Letter to the Smyrnaeans

                  The Church is the people united…to its shepherd.  From this you should know that the bishop is in the Church and the Church is in the bishop.
                  St. Cyprian, On The Unity of the Catholic Church

                  Dositheus, Patriarch of Jerusalem at the turn of the 17th/18th centuries, echoed this rudimentary patristic understanding of the Orthodox ecclesiology describing the Church in its fullness as the local bishop together with to his flock participating in the holy mysteries when he wrote in his Confessions:

                  The dignity of the bishop is so necessary in the Church, that without him, neither the Church nor the Christian could either exist or be spoken of. For he, as a successor of the Apostles, having received in continued succession by the imposition of hands and the invocation of the All-Holy Spirit the grace that is given him of the Lord of binding and loosing, is a living image of God upon the earth, and by a most ample participation of the operation of the Holy Spirit, who is the chief functionary, is a fountain of all the mysteries [i.e., sacraments] of the Catholic Church, through which we obtain salvation.

                  It is also known that a bishop is always considered the bishop of a particular place, either a city or town, and he is entrusted with the oversight of the Christians who live in that city as well as the faithful who reside in the surrounding countryside, i.e. the local church/bishopric/diocese (diocese in the modern sense, not the early usage of the term as seen in the ancient canons – more below). This can be seen in the writing of the fathers, and it is also reflected in the canons.

                  There are abundant canons specifically affirming the independent authority of a bishop within his own geographic region of oversight, i.e. local church/bishopric/diocese with respect to ordinations & all other aspects of the holy mysteries, pastoral discipline, finances etc., as well as his legitimate relationship with the provincial metropolitan. Canon 9 of the Council of Antioch (341 A.D.) repeats Apostolic Canon 34 in that it states:

                  It behooves the bishops in every province to acknowledge the bishop who presides in the metropolis, and who has to take thought for the whole province…Wherefore it is decreed that he have precedence in rank, and that the other bishops do nothing extraordinary without him, or such things only as pertain to their own particular parishes and the districts subject to them. For each bishop has authority over his own parish, both to manage it with the piety which is incumbent on every one, and to make provision for the whole district which is dependent on his city; to ordain presbyters and deacons; and to settle everything with judgment. But let him undertake nothing further without the bishop of the metropolis; neither the latter without the consent of the others.

                  Apostolic canon 34 & canon 9 of the Council of Antioch are the most succinct & explicit examples, but there are many others. While they both highlight the principle of primacy they also prohibit the metropolitan from interfering in the affairs of other bishop’s dioceses while simultaneously affirming that “supra-diocesan” matters pertaining to the whole province (or archdiocese to use your current terminology) can only be addressed & dealt with on a conciliar basis under the leadership of the metropolitan who has only one vote in the council yet also holds “veto power”.

                  For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another.
                  St. Cyprian in the Opening Address at the Council of Carthage

                  Thus, subjugating a bishop to the “authority” of another bishop, albeit a metropolitan or even a patriarch, in matters that the canons irrefutably give the local bishop independent authority to exercise within the bounds of his own clearly defined ecclesiastical territory (i.e. local church/bishopric/diocese) is nothing less than a willful rejection of one of the most foundational principles of Orthodox ecclesiology. It annihilates the very personal reality of the local church & confounds every dioceses in the entire country into one massive impersonal diocese ultimately controlled by a single individual.

                  You claim that the US is one “nation” & Metropolitan Philip is the primate. Unfortunately the term “nation” used in Apostolic canon 34 is synonymous with “province” used in the 9th canon of the Council of Antioch. It doesn’t have anything to do with politically sovereign nation-states that exist today. I’ll explain what it means below.

                  Since the unity of the local Churches reflects the unity of the Persons of the Holy Trinity in that each local Church is the catholic Church (or the Church in all its fullness) just like each Person of the Holy Trinity is the fullness of God, a given local Church cannot exist in isolation, but, according to the canons it is dependent upon the neighboring local Churches for both the election and ordination of its bishop. Canon 4 of Nicaea states: “…a bishop should be appointed [i.e., elected – my addition] by all the bishops in the province; but should this be difficult, either on account of urgent necessity or because of distance, three at least should meet together, and the suffrages of the absent [bishops] also being given and communicated in writing, then the ordination should take place..” Apostolic Canon 1 reads: “Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops.” In addition, the local Churches depended upon each other for the recognition of excommunications as described in canon 6 of the Council of Antioch: “If any one has been excommunicated by his own bishop, let him not be received by others until he has either been restored by his own bishop, or until, when a synod is held, he shall have appeared and made his defense, and, having convinced the synod, shall have received a different sentence.” It was also necessary for the local Churches to come together to discuss matters of common concern as canon 5 of Nicaea states: “…it is decreed that in every province synods shall be held twice a year, in order that when all the bishops of the province are assembled together, such questions may by them be thoroughly examined…”

                  Consequently, a practical approach was adopted in order to simplify the method by which the regional organization of various local Churches into synods was to be determined. The concept has become known as the principle of accommodation, which meant that the administrative divisions of the ancient Church were intentionally designed to parallel the political divisions of the Roman Empire. This is reflected in the concluding portion of canon 17 of the Council of Chalcedon stated: “…let the order of the ecclesiastical parishes follow the political and municipal example.” This principle was reaffirmed in canon 38 (36 in some collections) of the Council of Trullo: “…let the order of things ecclesiastical follow the civil and public models.” Thus, it was unambiguously stated that the local Churches (i.e. bishoprics) were to group themselves into local synods in accordance with the geo-political divisions of the empire.

                  In the late 3rd and early 4th century Emperor Diocletian introduced his reforms affecting the administrative structure of the Roman Empire. His model became known as the Tetrarchy. The breakdown was as follows:

                  The whole empire was divided into two parts:
                  The western halve
                  The eastern halve

                  Both halves were then further divided in half yielding four regions called prefectures:

                  Two in the West:
                  The Prefecture of Gaul
                  The Prefecture of Italy

                  Two in the East:
                  The Prefecture of Illyricum
                  The Prefecture of the East. 

                  Each of the four prefectures was then subdivided into a number of smaller regions called dioceses. 

                  NOTE: It is crucial to recognize that the term diocese was primarily a municipal term which had only secondary application to the Church.  Whenever the word diocese is used in the early centuries it always refers to a civil diocese of the empire and the corresponding ecclesiastical structures rather to the territory of a given bishop, i.e. a bishopric or in modern terminology an ecclesiastical diocese. The definition of the word has changed over the centuries, and this is especially important to keep in mind when interpreting the canons.

                  Each civil diocese was further divided into a number of even smaller regions called provinces, and each province had its own capital city known as the metropolis.

                  See the map of “The administrative divisions of the Roman Empire in 395, under Theodosius I”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roman_empire_395.jpg & the map of “The provinces and dioceses of the Roman Empire after the death of Theodosius I in ca. 400AD” for a visual depiction of this schema: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Roman_Empire_ca_400_AD.png.

                  In your current predicament, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch has reworked Orthodox ecclesiology & literally abolished the status of bishop affirming that only the patriarch & metropolitans possess full episcopal authority, while, at the same time (this is the insane part), retaining the structure of the ecclesiastical province (or archdiocese) comprised of its component dioceses each headed by its respective bishop who is devoid of his canonical episcopal authority & merely serves as an auxiliary. Thus, in reality, we have a one colossal diocese ruled by one metropolitan bishop who has 6 auxiliary bishops each affiliated with & situated in a diocese that he has no true authority in. We have an archdiocesan “synod” composed of a single ruling bishop. Obviously, this all adds up to madness!

                  To be sure, this is exactly the same heretical ecclesiology that we have accused the Roman Catholics of for roughly a millennium. What suddenly makes this valid Orthodox ecclesiology? If this is legitimate, then on what basis do we reject the Roman Catholic papacy? If we accept this decision coming from the Holy Synod of Antioch & at the same time maintain our opposition to papal supremacy than we condemn ourselves as hypocrites.

                  You stated that the system I favor comprised of contiguous independent yet interdependent local Churches each headed by its bishop who sits on a synod headed by the metropolitan makes each bishop his own metropolitan, leads to chaos & is not the administration described by the canons. Really? As I’ve demonstrated above, this is, in fact, the administrative structure described by the canons & any deviation leads to chaos. If you are going to make a claim to the contrary then the burden of proof lies with you. Remember, I’m a primary source guy.

                  In the scriptures St. Paul makes the distinction between Holy Tradition, which originates from the Divine source, commanding the faithful to hand it down unadulterated from the first generation to posterity as something which is truly sacred and human tradition. He then compares this Holy Tradition to the traditions of men, or mere human customs, which are capricious and possess no authority. I think this distinction is important to keep this in mind when it comes to considering the Holy Synod of Antioch relatively recent statement.

                  St. Vincent of Lerins, writing in his 5th century work the Commonitory, said:

                  I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical pravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law (i.e. scripture), and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

                  St. Vincent then goes on to enumerate a long list of the names of heresiarchs who rejected the Holy Tradition in order to twist the scriptures in support of their erroneous positions. He stated that a proper interpenetration of the scriptures should not be left to the individual but “should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation.”

                  St. Vincent continued:

                  Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense ‘Catholic’, which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consistent definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

                  Bearing this in mind, I ask: does Metropolitan Basil of Akkar’s research paper, which accurately describes the innovative & literally deviant practices of the Patriarchate of Antioch in the last century, legitimize or condemn the wholesale rejection of our Church’s Holy Tradition concerning the episcopate & ecclesiology?

                  It is important to recall that neither the office that a person holds nor the number of voices crying out in approval prevents a heresy from being a heresy. Many of the most notorious heretics in the history of Christianity were (at one point) Orthodox bishops of one rank or anther & this did not prevent them from falling into deception & dragging many others along with them. At times the majority of the episcopate had lapsed into heresy. One only has to recall the malignant heresies that raged during 4th & 5th centuries, or more recently the council for Florence.

                  The word heresy literally means “to choose”. A heretic, then, is one who chooses what he or she will believe or practice in opposition to what has been established by Christ & the Holy Spirit & subsequently handed down within the life of the Church. It does not mean that one is necessarily a malicious or vindictive person or any other such thing.

                  When we stop adhering to “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) and start choosing our own beliefs & practices at the expense of the divinely established & preserved (i.e. Orthodox) beliefs & practices then it begs the following question: At what point are we no longer able to call ourselves Orthodox Christians and, indeed, find ourselves numbered among those properly called heretics?

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    It is possible for two Orthodox to disagree on the application of administrative canons to the contemporary situation without one of them calling the person with whom they disagree on a non doctrinal matter an heretic, or questioning their knowledge of Orthodoxy. Remember the last canon was written in 787. Much has changed since then including the ability of a Primate to communicate with the Bishops under his authority. They did not have instant communication in 787 like we do today.
                    I do not feel comfortable constantly having to tell people on this blog about my academic credentials, so forgive me if I offend anyone by answering Seraphim’s challenge. Briefly, I have a Ph.D. in history, have taught Church history on the college level, written articles and three books on Orthodoxy including the first English language survey of Christian history from an Orthodox point of view, a book with over 600 pages. I also graduated with highest distinction with an MTS from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Have you even had a course in Orthodox canon law at an Orthodox seminary? Are you Antiochian? If not what business of yours is the administration of our Archdiocese?
                    Throughout the history of the Orthodox Church there have been different models to distinguish the authority of the primate of a national Church and the authority of diocesan Bishops. Despite your claim, the canons do not mandate that every national Church follow the exact same administrative pattern. Some local Orthodox Churches paid little attention to the canons when determining their administration. Some Orthodox Churches give more authority to the Primate than others. The Turks ignored the autocephaly granted to Serbia and Bulgaria during the pre-Turkish period and placed these previous autocephalous Churches under Constantinople. Even the ancient Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem were subordinated to Constantinople during the Turkish period. Peter the Great reorganized the Russian Church using not the canons but the example of the Lutheran Church of Sweden. Between Peter the Great and the Russian Revolution, the Russian Orthodox Church did not have a Patriarch and was controlled by the Tsar as a department of state under the supervision of a layman called the Ober-Procurator, something that is completely contrary to the canons.
                    It is not unknown in Orthodoxy to give auxiliary Bishops titular titles using ancient dioceses that no longer exist. These titular Bishops exist within several Orthodox Patriarchates including Antioch and Constantinople. The canons actually do provide for what we call auxiliary Bishops, they call them Choir Bishops or chorepiscopus. Like Metropolitan Philip, I think that it is important to preserve the unity of the Antiochian Archdiocese by a common set of practices that apply to every Diocese, and, especially, common liturgical texts and practices. Even before the title of the Diocesan Bishops was changed to auxiliary Bishops transfers required the approval of the Metropolitan.

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says

                      Father, I would like to emphatically point out that you did not respond to my challenge. You provided absolutely no scholarly refutation. Rather, you merely enumerated your credentials, and if you feel uncomfortable constantly having to tell people on this blog about your academic credentials then I would submit that the reason is because credentials are largely irrelevant in the absence of well reasoned arguments that are fortified with evidence. These arguments can stand alone. I have an ivy league education & I’m a practicing physician, but who really cares. Knowledge & intelligence are knowledge & intelligence irrespective of who’s mouth they proceed from. I know more than a few professors, lawyers & physician with robust credentials who are nitwits. Conversely, I know a quite a few people without any formal education who possess vast funds of knowledge & wield intellectual & oratorical skills that are every bit a stunning as the most polished academics. To use the Aristotelian categories of rhetoric, your response is far too heavy on ethos, i.e, an appeal to the credibility of your expertise, & far too light on logos, i.e., logical arguments that seek to prove your assertion. As I stated, I’m a primary source guy. Why don’t you use those credential to show me the money?

                      I wholeheartedly agree with you when you state, “It is possible for two Orthodox to disagree on the application of administrative canons to the contemporary situation without one of them calling the person with whom they disagree on a non doctrinal matter a heretic, or questioning their knowledge of Orthodoxy.”

                      However, you are gravely mistaken if you believe that this issue in simply an administrative matter that is non-doctrinal. As I briefly but sufficiently demonstrated in my last post, the apostolic doctrine of the Church as reflected in the fathers, canons & history is that the catholic Church (i.e., the Church in all its fullness) is the local church/bishopric/diocese. ALL other arrangements concerning how these local Churches are to affiliate with one another are administrative arrangements which are legitimately malleable as history demonstrates.

                      For example, in the early centuries all local Churches within the borders of a civil province (again see the maps that are linked in my last post) were united as an autocephalous Church with the bishops forming a provincial synod and the locally elected bishop of the provincial metropolis exercising primacy. The number of canons describing this administrative system is so great that it would be an injudicious use of space to cite them all here. Additionally, the reality of provincial autocephalies in the ancient Church is also confirmed by Theodore Balsamon, the 12th century canonist & Patriarch of Antioch, in his commentary on canon 2 of the First Council of Nicaea. Moreover, long before Balsamon’s time, canon 9 of the Council of Antioch (which I quoted in my last post) precisely described this situation, and it merely echoes Apostolic Canon 34.

                      Thus, a system of autocephalous provinces was the original form of regional ecclesiastical administration. Nevertheless, with the passage of time, it became customary for certain provinces within a diocese to voluntarily surrender their autocephaly for autonomy. Under these conditions the province continued to administer its own internal affairs, independently electing and ordaining its own bishops as well as electing its own metropolitan, but the ratification of the metropolitan’s election was left to the discretion of the exarch of the diocese, i.e. the bishop of the chief metropolis of the diocese. Typically, the exarch also presided during the service of ordination or enthronement of the provincial metropolitans.

                      By the time of the First Ecumenical Council the practice had organically developed in which the provinces comprising the civil dioceses of Egypt and Rome were subject to the jurisdiction of the diocesan exarchs, the metropolitan archbishops of Alexandria and Rome respectively. Canon 6 of Nicaea states: “Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also.” Ruffinus, writing in his 4th century work entitled Ecclesiastical History, describes the territory that had become “customary for the Bishop of Rome” to have jurisdiction over as the Suburbicarian, the 10 provinces that make up the diocese of Rome. Perhaps, in the case of the diocese Egypt, one may argue that at the time of the First Ecumenical Council, Alexandria did not have jurisdiction in the every province of the diocese of Egypt since this canon only mentions that the provinces of Egypt, Libya (i.e., Libya Inferior) and Pentapolis (i.e., Libya Superior) were subject to Alexandria. However, by the time of the Second Ecumenical Council, Alexandria certainly did possess jurisdiction throughout the entire diocese, as canon 2 of that Council reads: “…let the Bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the affairs of Egypt.”

                      Thereby, as provincial autocephaly gave way to provincial autonomy the autocephaly shifted from the provincial to the diocesan level. In this scenario the exarch, as primate of the diocese, assumed a role similar to what the metropolitan of the province had previously exercised. As the bishops of the province were not to make decisions of common concern without the consent of the provincial metropolitan, now in similar fashion the other provincial metropolitans in a diocese were not to make decisions of common concern without the consent of the diocesan exarch. Such a situation is precisely described in canon 30 of Chalcedon when the bishops of the diocese of Egypt are observed asking the council for additional time before they issued their own conciliar decision as to whether or not they accepted the doctrine of Pope Leo of Rome as the following states:

                      “…the most religious bishops of Egypt have postponed for the present their subscription to the letter of the most holy Archbishop Leo, not because they oppose the Catholic Faith, but because they declare that it is the custom in the Egyptian diocese to do no such thing without the consent and order of their Archbishop, and ask to be excused until the ordination of the new bishop of the metropolis of Alexandria, it has seemed to us reasonable and kind that this concession should be made to them…”

                      Relinquishing provincial autocephaly was only considered valid if it was freely accepted. When there was coercion involved the change to provincial autonomy was rejected. This can be observed in the case of the Province of Cyprus. After canon 6 of Nicaea described the diocesan-wide jurisdiction of the exarchs of Rome and Alexandria, the jurisdiction of the exarch of Antioch was described as being limited to a certain number of provinces within the Diocese of The East, rather than every province of that diocese. Canon 2 of Constantinople made it clear that while the metropolitan archbishop of Antioch did, in deed, have a jurisdiction broader than his own province it also specified that there were other provinces of that diocese that had retained their autocephaly. Canon 3 states: “let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the privileges of the Church in Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of Nice, being preserved.” Consequently, when Antioch ventured, without invitation, into Cyprus, a province of the diocese of the East, and attempted to ordain bishops within that province, it was appropriately rejected by the Cypriot bishops as a violation of the autocephaly they had enjoyed from the beginning.

                      This decision of the Cypriot bishops was confirmed by the Council of Ephesus in canon 8: “…bishops…of the Province of Cyprus, have reported to us an innovation which has been introduced contrary to the ecclesiastical constitutions and the Canons of the Holy Apostles…that the Bishop of Antioch has in this way held ordinations in Cyprus; therefore the Rulers of the holy churches in Cyprus shall enjoy, without dispute or injury, according to the Canons of the blessed Fathers and ancient custom, the right of performing for themselves the ordination of their excellent Bishops. The same rule shall be observed in the other dioceses and provinces everywhere, so that none of the God beloved Bishops shall assume control of any province which has not heretofore, from the very beginning, been under his own hand or that of his predecessors. But if any one has violently taken and subjected [a Province], he shall give it up.”

                      Conversely, when there was a freewill surrender of provincial autocephaly it was considered legitimate. This development of an administrative unity on a scale larger than the provincial level was, of course, the bases of the patriarchates and these are the circumstances by which the entire Diocese of The East, with the exception of the Province of Cyprus, was divided between Jerusalem and Antioch, thus defining each of these see’s territorial jurisdictions at the Council of Chalcedon. Session VII stated the following: “The arrangement arrived at through the agreement of…the bishop of the city of Antioch, and…the bishop of Jerusalem, as the attestation of each of them declares, shall remain firm forever, through our decree and the sentence of the holy synod; to wit, that the most holy church of Antioch, shall have under its own jurisdiction the two Phoenicias and Arabia; but the…bishop of Jerusalem, or rather the most holy Church which is under him, shall have under his own power the three Palestines.”

                      Bla bla bla. My point is that I am very much aware that sundry administrative models have been appropriately utilized by the Church over the centuries, and I never stated, as you claim I did, that the canons require every “national” church to follow the exact same administrative patterns. It is also true, as you point out, that Tsars & Sultans often tried to control the Church. However, these attempts at melding in the Church’s administration were never accepted as legitimate, and none of the changes they imposed on the Church persisted after the hegemony passed. Furthermore, none of these various administrative models that the Church has employed has have ever compromised the integrity of the local church & it’s bishop’s ministry & authority, which the canons scrupulously guarded, because this phenomenon is the very essence of the Church – the local phenomenon of the bishop surrounded by his priests, deacons & people gathered around the alter table celebrating the eucharistic liturgy of the Kingdom of God.

                      No, I’m not “Antiochian”. My parish belongs of the metropolis of Boston in the GOA, but again these jurisdictional concepts belie authentic Orthodox ecclesiology of the local territorial Church where all Orthodox in a single region are united in one Church under the omophorion of a single bishop. Nevertheless, I consider it my business when your jurisdiction embraces ecclesiological heresy & tries to sell it to the rest of the Chruch as its version of legitimate canonical administration. Sorry, but that affects us all.

                      Your appeal to the ancient & short-lived ministry of the chorepiscopus & your attempt to equate that ministry to the current auxiliary bishops of Antiochian Archdiocese is once again inapplicable because, auxiliary bishops, by their very nature, never have their own particular geographic region of oversight (i.e. diocese) & merely assist the ruling bishop as his vicar in the affairs of his diocese. As I stated in my last post: “In your current predicament, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch has reworked Orthodox ecclesiology & literally abolished the status of bishop affirming that only the patriarch & metropolitans possess full episcopal authority, while, at the same time (this is the insane part), retaining the structure of the ecclesiastical province (or archdiocese) comprised of its component dioceses each headed by its respective bishop who is devoid of his canonical episcopal authority & merely serves as an auxiliary. Thus, in reality, we have a one colossal diocese ruled by one metropolitan bishop who has 6 auxiliary bishops each affiliated with & situated in a diocese that he has no true authority in. We have an archdiocesan ‘synod’ composed of a single ruling bishop. Obviously, this all adds up to madness!”

                      Finally, this business of titular bishops is also sheer nonsense because according to our doctrine the bishop is the archpastor of a particular local flock, the overseer of a particular local Church, which is why there is alway a place-name in his title. This legitimately originated when refugee bishops who had been run out of their see’s during barbarian invasions sought refuge in Constantinople & were thus disconnected from their flocks/Churches. However, today titular bishops are ordained without any flock at all, which begs the question: since bishop means overseer, what flocks are they actually watching over? A shepherd without sheep equals an unemployed guy. In truth, they are ecclesiastical bureaucrats & the Phanar is swarming with them. Just because Constantinople does it, doesn’t mean its automatically legitimate (For instance, consider the EP’s interpretation of the 28th canon of the council of Chalcedon, need I say more?). Titular bishops are a shameful denigration of the episcopate & their existence borders on ecclesiological heresy for the same reasons: it is a rejection of the most basic doctrine of the Church which is inextricable connected to the bishop.

                      Contrary to what you may think, I’m not a reactionary, fundamentalist, hyper-orthodox, wacko. I’m a pretty down-to-earth, clean shaven (most days), short haired guy, who is married with children. I drink beer, listen to Willie Nelson & eat lobster (I’m a Mainer), yet I’m also a highly educated intellectual. I’m actually pretty laid back about most of the canons & customs that are observed or not observed. I don’t get fired up about old vs new calendar, kneeling vs not kneeling at Sunday liturgies, etc. As the popular saying goes, “Whatever…”. Those canons only indirectly reflect the theology they are connected to & are orders of magnitude away from it, so when those canons are violated the doctrines are not. However, the canons regarding the local Church & it’s bishop directly reflect the doctrine of the Church, and if you think it is appropriate to reject the ecclesiological doctrines of the fathers & dismiss the related canons as outdated “administrative” relics then you are willfully rejecting Orthodox doctrine & practice and replacing them with counterfeit beliefs and practices, which is the definition of heresy. The Septuagint reading of Hosea 4:6 is interesting, “My people are like those who have no knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being a priest to Me; and because you have forgotten the law of God, I also will forget your children.” Ordained priesthood or priesthood of all believers? It doesn’t matter, heresy cuts all of us alike off from the Church. The fact that the doctrine of the Church is so warped, rejected & often substituted of something else is the cause of much of the turmoil in the Church here in the US & around the world. Unlike the ancient days when heresy was related to Christology & other Trinitarian doctrines, ecclesiology is the heresy of our day.

                      Please, no more flimsy anti-intellectual responses. Present a refutation with sound logic & primary source citations, or don’t reply at all, which would be in keeping with the spirit of an oft quoted phrase that my father like to sarcastically rehearse at appropriate times when I was growing up: “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already got my mind made up.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Seraphim, I am going to allow your response presently and will allow Fr John to respond. After that, I am closing down this particular discussion between you both because it is not germane to the topic at hand. And I fear that you all are talking past each other.

                      Fret not, I will create an essay soon on the Church and culture which will be more suited to your arguments. Until then, please be patient.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I hope that my last post did not sound arrogant. I am in a great deal of pain and I am sure that effects how I write. I learned today that I need a total knee replacement.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To George Michalopulos
                      I wrote my last post on this subject before I saw Seraphim’s latest epistle. So, give me a chance to respond before you cut off this discussion.

                      To Seraphim:
                      My response to your last post is very simple, I am a simple priest. It is not my place to tell my Bishop, the Metropolitan or the Holy Synod of Antioch how to organize our Archdiocese or how to divide up authority between the Metropolitan and the auxiliary Bishops. These decisions are made by the hierarchy. I also know enough about canon law to know that I do not know everything about the subject and that there are different opinions on the application of the non dogmatic canons the last of which was adopted in the 8th century to the organization of the Antiochian Archdiocese in America in the 21st century. The Dogmatic decisions of the Ecumenical Councils express eternal truth, but even during the period of the Councils, administrative canons were subject to change according to the circumstances. I do not think that any expert in Orthodox canon law would argue that the canons mandate a one size fits all approach to the administration of the local Churches.

          • Actually, the ACA and OCA are afflicted by similar problems, just in reverse. The ACA has a “primate dominating the Synod” model while the OCA has “a Synod dominating the primate” model. There is truth in recognizing sinful dysfunction in these groups, and the issues underlying the dysfunctional part remain power, prestige, and money. When the larger community notices dysfunction in leaders with power, prestige, and money, the dysfunctional response is too often defensiveness, denial, shaming, and manipulation of the dissenters. Once in that position it’s hard not to become dependent on it and then help the others in those similar positions of power, prestige and money, retain their comfortable and influential positions. Meanwhile the faith takes a back seat citing ecclesiology. Question to hierarchs: what is a layman, priest or bishop do, when they truly believe that they are seeing something wrong and sinful in the Church, even in the leadership? May The Lord save the leaders of the church who are faced with such severe temptations.

        • Please quote it here. I don’t have “The Word”

          • Page 17….its pretty amazing. Be nice to get some feedback on it from an Orthodox perspective.


            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              To make it clickable . . .


              And by the way, I just love that cover photo! I’ve been blessed to be around people with Downs Syndrome and its amazing just how generous their love can be.

            • Dear Stephen,

              My feedback is that I went to page 17 of 19 iof a Pdf document and found nothing of interest to the discussion, i.e. administrative models. Could you quote the portions upon which you felt might be interesting for us to comment? I don’t have one of those Pdf conversion tools but maybe you do?

              To have an administration, you need a staff backing up whoever is in charge. If you mean this to be your Metropolitan, as opposed to our Metropolitan, understand that our Metropolitan was gifted with one, countem’, one, administrative assistant in the form of one Rassofor monk who is now a Stavrofor monk and attending seminary in another state.

              I kinda recall that your Metropolitan once had a completely different administrative model than at present which caused great consternation in subsuming control to the center. Maybe that’s good, maybe not. Right now, the OCA has a locum tenans about which there was great question about him and his archdiocese jumping the OCA ship for the Romanian Patrarchate. I guess he changed his mind? But maybe not. I’ve always questioned ethnic diocese within the OCA as opposed to just having a policy that certain parishes and cathedrals might decide to have their services in one or another language to fit the needs of the people in the tradition of Saints Cyril and Methodius performing holy work under the direction of Saint Photius the Patriarch.

              Let there be no divisions among us and let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus together in peace.

              I feel that evil is working among us all against Orthodox unity in this hemisphere when I contemplate that our Metropolitan was about to keynote address the Orthodox Christian Laity 25th anniversary meeting in Washington, D.C., the primatial OCA cathedral prominent in its activities along with the Greek and Antiochian cathedrals and now, our Romanian Episcopate Archbishop is going in its stead, our Metropolitan cannot even attend OCL celebrations in his own cathedral as Archbishop of Washington, which he is, as he has not been reassigned, and even a letter protesting his dismissal by one of his parishioners, Joel Kalvesmaki, is no longer on the OCL website.

              Although I attend other jurisdictions, ethnic, pretend ethnic, and not, and feel quite comfortable in them celebrating, I am sad for what is happening to the OCA I love and its reputation and do not want to vote with my feet.

              • George,

                Please edit the above. The bold was only supposed to be for “our Metropolitan” and extended to a whole lot of other words

    • Thomas Paine says

      “It is October tomorrow. Maybe I am wrong but isn’t October when our dear Metropolitan Jonah loses his housing and pay and begins to be starved out of the OCA?”

      The guy is “supposedly” a monk. Let him go back to his monastery or any monastery. Heck, if he is a real monk, he can sleep on a cot in any church basement. His extended family situation is not a concern for a monk. I’m sure someone might have a garage “mother-in-law” apartment available.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Against my better judgement, I’ve decided to let your comments go unedited. If for no other reason than it’s important that Christians understand what true hatred looks like.

        • M.Vasiliou says

          Lord have mercy.

          Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified by His own people.

          Since Christ preached that we should love our enemies, Christians should be known for their love for one another. How sad that people who claim to be Orthodox Christians are joining the satanic ranks with their hatred of Met. Jonah!

  12. fatherpep@gmail.com says

    Moon over Parma bring my love to me tonight.
    Got her to Cleveland, underneath your silvery light.
    We’re going bowlin’, so don’t lose her in Solon.
    Moon over Parma tonight.

    Did somebody say “Parma?”

  13. Unless +Jonah has said he’d take his old job back why all this fuss? Has he said anywhere, even once, he’d take his job back if elected?

    All this piling on and harsh language, what would protesters there be protesting about if the one they’d prefer get the job doesn’t want it? Wny not start making a case for the person you do want, one who’d actually be willing to take it?

    Enough cursing the darkness, light a candle for a change.

    • Gosh. What a great idea Harry. Light and candle. Should we go to Church and pray also? Partake of the Sacraments? Pray for our enemies? Never thought of that!

      In the meantime, can we voice our disapproval with our leaders? Please? We still love them but we don’t like what they are doing to our Church. Is that OK with you?

      Some of us here don’t think that Jonah would want to be the Metropolitan again, but does that mean he should be under house arrest for the rest of his life, unable to be released to another jurisdiction, or take a vacant see in the OCA, like the DOS?

      But thanks for your sage advice, Harry. It is so often just spot-on. We should all just be quiet so our leaders think we approve of their actions, just like you did back with + Sypridon.

      • Harry Coin says

        What good the anger with no point? Who is the fellow you do want? Or would you prefer not to say so just in case he actually gets the job you can still rant-ho?

    • Yes, he has said he would. He may not have said it for the public record. However, he also said, he would come back only under very specific conditions. Also, this sentiment was shared a number of weeks ago, so I don’t know if he still thinks the same way. Regardless, he only wants God’s will, he wants to do what God wants. Thus, if he thought it God’s will, hence, if the Church screamed for his reinstatement and demanded his leadership, of course he would do it, it would be a matter of obedience. However, he would ask for very specific conditions to be met before doing so.

  14. Sad, just very, very sad. I didn’t, in my wildest nightmares, think the synod and mc would go here. The only other time, in Orthodox history (pls correct me if I’m wrong) something like this happened was at the Third Ecumenical Council, when Cyril brought in a bunch of monastic supporters of the true teaching about Christ to prevent supporters of Nestorius from having access to the council. Somehow, I don’t think +HB and his supporters are anywhere close to the level of Nestorius and his heretic followers. Lord, please show Your great mercy to the OCA and may Your will be done, regardless of ANYONE’S personal agenda.

  15. D.C. Attorney says

    You should know that there is a federal law that makes it unlawful to block an entrance to a church, to impede people from entering or exiting a church, or trespassing on church property. Where does this come from? The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), which was passed to make it a federal crime to interfere with access to abortion clinics. To get Congress to pass it, there was a compromise that imposed the same restrictions on interfering with access to churches.

    • fatherpep@gmail.com says

      The statute you refer to is Title 18, United States Code, Section 247. (it used to be part of section 248 but was later separated out to become a distinct section. It provides, in relevant part,

      (a) Whoever, in any of the circumstances referred to in subsection (b) of this section—
      (1) intentionally defaces, damages, or destroys any religious real property, because of the religious character of that property, or attempts to do so; or
      (2) intentionally obstructs, by force or threat of force, any person in the enjoyment of that person’s free exercise of religious beliefs, or attempts to do so;
      shall be punished as provided in subsection (d).
      (b) The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the offense is in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.
      (c) Whoever intentionally defaces, damages, or destroys any religious real property because of the race, color, or ethnic characteristics of any individual associated with that religious property, or attempts to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (d).

      However, peaceful protest is not prohibited by the statute, nor are chanting and singing. Also, to be guilty of trespass, one must not have a legal right to be present on the property and must be so informed, and thereafter told to remove himself from the property. Standing around with a sign is lawful. It would be quite a sight where bishops ask the police to remove parish members from a church and/or have them arrested. MIght even make the network evening news.

      The following is from the webpage of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department:
      Damage to Religious Property

      Damage to Religious Property, 18 U.S.C. § 247. Section 247 of Title 18 prohibits anyone from intentionally defacing, damaging or destroying religious real property because of the religious nature of the property, so long as the crime is committed in or affects interstate commerce. The statute also prohibits anyone from intentionally obstructing or attempting to obstruct, by force or threat of force, a person in the enjoyment of that person’s religious beliefs, where the crime is committed in or affects interstate commerce. Finally, the statute prohibits anyone from intentionally defacing, damaging or destroying any religious real property because of the race, color, or ethnic characteristics of any individual associated with the property, regardless of any connection to interstate or foreign commerce. Section 247 also prohibits attempts to do any of the above.

      The offense would be prosecuted by the United States Attorney for the involved district (in the case of Parma, the Northern District of Ohio.)

      • fatherpep@gmail.com, Are you a member of the OCA? If not, which Orthodox jurisdiction? You have suggested protesting action by OCA members at the Parma Council in another post. From your postings on other topics, it seemed to me that you might be a member of the GOA but I’m not sure. I think it is important to know if in encouraging certain actions, you are speaking as a member of the OCA. Otherwise, you come across to me as just a rabble rouser or worse, an agent provocateur. Daria who is a member of the OCA

        • fatherpep@gmail.com says

          “Member of the OCA?” Good for you.
          You don’t stop and help when you see a car crash?
          Or mention to a passerby that an air condition is about to fall on him?
          Or should one not take note of a disaster occurring?
          No? Then don’t.
          Agent provocateur? Planted by whom? Please.
          Rabble rouser? Sure.
          You don’t want to protest or take action? OK. Simple.
          Live with what you get.

          • Your encouraging civil disobedience in a previous post is what I found questionable. Rather than helping the victims of that car crash you mention, I think encouraging civil disobedience inside the council sounds more like throwing gasoline on the crash in hopes that the car bursts into flames. If I’ve misread or misinterpreted your motives or objectives, I apologize.

            • Thomas Paine says

              Many of those posting here have an agenda. This is to weaken and/or destroy the OCA. Much of the under-lying disinformation and “cancer” comes from Los Angeles, Dallas and pockets in Wash, D.C. These are all the people who posted on OCATruth.com which was anything, but the truth. It’s not a surprise to anyone that most of these people are converts and heavily influenced by ROCOR. Understand who you are dealing with here.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Thomas Paine, the SOBs (Synod of Bishps, hat-tip: Lexcaritas) and Syosset have put the OCA on the glide path to self-destruction already. Even the most insular Phanariote in his most feverish dreams could have engineered what Messrs Jillions, Kishkovsky, Tosi, et al have pulled off. It’s brilliant in its stupidity.

                • Thomas Paine says


                  I’m afraid you are totally wrong. Syosset only has a hand full of employees who report to the OCA Synod. Even Fr. Jillions cannot act without their approval. Fr. Tosi has nothing to do with any decisions and the same for Fr. Kishkovsky. You have created a false front of enemies which just doesn’t exist. This is paranoia and delusion at it’s highest level. The OCA is not on a path of self-destruction except in your mind. The OCA Synod decided to remove + Jonah for good reasons. Now, an election will take place for a new leader who will act in a conciliar manner and who truly believes in an American Church. Remember, Orthodox Canon Law states that foreign bishops have no authority outside their immediate territory. The Bishop of Istanbul, the Bishop of Moscow, etc. have no authority in N. America. This is why the Episcopal Assembly is a canonical joke. The OCA is the only true canonical path for all the Orthodox in N. America. Unless, the Episcopal Assembly (all the bishops) announced they are severing their ties with all foreign bishops and organizing under a new autocephalous church in America. Forming a new synod and electing a primate. Permission is not necessary from any foreign bishop to do this; it won’t sit pretty with them, but so what.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    They all need to go. They are little men who are filled with pride and self-righteousness.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    It is true that the canons forbid Bishops from interfering in the affairs of a Diocese outside of their canonical territory. However, the evolution of American Orthodoxy has meant that the United States does not belong to the canonical territory of anyone, but that certain Dioceses and Archdioceses are part of the canonical territory of what you consider foreign Bishops. In 1900 Moscow could legitimately claim that the US lies within its canonical territory. However, after the Russian Revolution, the Russian Bishops gave up that claim and encouraged various ethnic groups to organize themselves under the authority of the Orthodox Churches in their mother country. This was partially to prevent the representatives of the pro-Communist Living Church from gaining control over Orthodoxy in America. Originally the Arabic speaking parishes were under the Russian Bishops, although they had their own separate Diocese of Brooklyn under St. Raphael. Before Antioch assumed jurisdiction in America, it received the blessing of Moscow, The Karowtizici Synod (ROCOR), and the Metropolia, which released its Arabic speaking parishes to Antioch. Russian Bishops participated in the consecration of Metropolitan Anthony Bashir, the first Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Unfortunately, on the same day other Russian Bishops consecrated Samuel David who formed a rival Antiochian Archdiocese of Toledo. Finally, under Metropolitan Philip the two Archdioceses were united. Given the historical facts, you cannot claim that the OCA is the only canonical jurisdiction in America or that what you consider foreign Bishops have no jurisdiction here. It is true that the Churches of Greece, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria declared themselves autocephalous and then were later recognized as autocephalous by the rest of Orthodoxy. However, the Orthodox Churches of Greece, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria were united. We are not united. Before we can have an autocephalous American Orthodox Church, we must first have a united American Orthodox Church. The Bishop’s Assembly is the only way we can accomplish that at this time. No one except Moscow recognizes the OCA as the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. However, because Moscow also has jurisdiction in America through the Patriarchal Parishes and ROCOR, Moscow acts as if its recognition of the OCA as the local Orthodox Church in America is really a legal fiction. Your attitude is only standing in the way of the creation of a real united American Orthodox Church by ignoring both history and the sentiments of the rest of American Orthodoxy. One jurisdiction cannot impose its will on the other jurisdictions that form American Orthodoxy.

                    • That’s “Karlovsty” Synod, Fr John.
                      But your history is accurate.
                      Regrettably, idealogues like Fr Schmemann, the chief architect of OCA autocephaly, and his intellectual scions, have scant regard for historical facts. One only has to read Pospielovsky’s history of the Russian Church under the Soviet regime, particularly as it relates to the church abroad, to see that. There are many good people in the OCA, but the whole episode of its “autocephaly” is destined to be just a footnote in Orthodox history.

        • Interested Bystander says

          Daria, you did not see any humor in Fr. P’s suggestions??? (Tongue in cheek?) I had a hearty laugh! Lighten up – we’re Christians first, and we have not lost sight of this – although perhaps, some have.
          Thomas, Can you say what you want to with a bit more love in your words, and a bit less judgment. Thomas Paine was an extraordinary man, (my distant relative) and a rabble rouser: “”Common Sense” presented the American colonists, who were generally still undecided, with a cogent argument for full-scale revolt and freedom from British rule.” BTW – I have never posted to the other site you mentioned, nor even clicked over to read it….so I’ll add – less generalizing.

          More love, less pain, less generalizing…right?

  16. We surely won’t be able to make quotes such as these…

    This whole situation is fulfilling as a prophecy this passage in the Wisdom of Solomon:

    “Let us lie in ambush for the rIghteous man, because he is useless to us and opposes our deeds; he denounces us for our sins against the law and accuses us of sins against our upbringing. He claims to have knowledge of God, and he calls himself a child of The Lord. He has become for us a refutation of our purposes; even seeing him is a burden to us, because his life is unlike that of others; for his paths go in a different direction. We are considered a hybrid, and he avoids our ways as something immoral. He considers the last things of the righteous blessed, and pretends God is his Father.

    “Let us see if his words are true, and let us put these last things to the test at the end of his life. For if the righteous man is a son of God, He will help him. And deliver him from the hand of those who oppose him. Let us test him with insult and torture that we may know his gentleness and test his patient endurance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for there shall be a visitation because of his words.

    “So they reasoned these things and were led astray, for their malice blinded them…” Wisdom of Solomon 2:12-21 (OSB)

    • Lordsave, that is because His Eminence is a sincere imitator of our Lord.

      Yes, this post also put me in mind of another saying from the wisdom in the OT:

      Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee when no one pursues, . . .”

      It is hard not to see this fear-driven action of arranging for police security as the result of the guilty consciences of those responsible for what they, too, must understand to be the unjust removal of Met. Jonah and the defrauding of the members of the OCA.

  17. By the way, where’s Bishop Tikhon? Haven’t heard or seen postings for a while. Is he okay? Are you there Vladika?

    • Disgusted With It says

      He left a message on a previous post saying something to the effect that he wasn’t going to post on here anymore. Maybe the synod threatened him with some kind of retaliation, too, to shut him up from speaking the truth of inconvenient historical facts.

      • I can’t find the message. Trackback?

        • Disgusted With It says
          • M.Vasiliou says

            In his farewell address, His Grace Bishop Tikhon suggests that the OCA Synod ask hierarchs from other Synods to investigate the “trial” of Protopresbyter Kondratick.

            Could the laity spearhead such a request if it appears that the Synod will not do so?

            Does anyone know of Bishop Tikhon’s facebook account, “which has no moral watchdogs.”

            As a brotherly and Christian gesture, the Holy Synod of the OCA should ask hierarchs from ROCOR, GOA, and the Antiochians to appoint senior Archpriests as members of a commission to re-open and investigate the “trial” of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, and Archbishop Demetrios should be asked to chair the commission.

            This does conclude my active participation here. Even an outright lie or other falsehood expressed by ‘the usual suspects” will have to be addressed by others.

            And I prefer Facebook, which has no moral watchdogs.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              Since Bp. Tikhon includes his last name to distinguish himself, he’s easy enough to find on Facebook simply by searching for his name. You can then send him a friend request, after which it is up to him to accept it or not.

      • Threatened….hardly so. He told you why.

      • And, dear ‘Disgusted With It’, Bishop Tikhon even left a hint…in that last sentence about “moral watchdogs”.

  18. Thomas Paine says

    The posters here aren’t dealing with reality. Parma is not a “robber council.” The Holy Synod of the OCA removed Met. Jonah for good reasons. There was no conspiracy. A 100% agreement of the Holy Synod does not occur frivolously. The entire premise here is flawed and promoted by a small contingent of self-absorbed individuals trying to push their own agenda. The reality is that there is a “cancer” here that is trying to divide and destroy the OCA. The stench begins in Los Angeles, continues to Dallas and has small pockets in Washington, D.C. Cancers need to be “exposed” and cut out.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thomas, what “good reasons” did the Synod which you tell us agreed “100%”? If you believe both propositions you are either (a) misinformed or (b) lying.

    • Have you just joined us? It is not as you say.

    • Disgusted With It says

      Hey look! It’s phil.r.up’s twin brother!

      (And such a great choice of name since Thomas Paine is known for being a propagandist and for his ridicule of Christianity.)

    • Mark from the DOS says

      How curious you chose the term cancer to describe those of us who question what the HS did. Of course cancer treatment might be surgical, but it also often involves the introduction of toxic poisons into the body. How appropriate indeed when the scurrilous and demonstrably false statements of the HS are spread into the body of the Church. Poison indeed! If this is the HS’s cure, I think it is clearly worse than the disease.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Speaking of toxins, the petitions introduced by the Synod –particularly the last one–is particularly poisonous. I was talking with a priest today who said that with the last one, the OCA would be invoking Satan to come into our midst. Hence he refused to say all of them. Two other priests I talked to said that they only did the first three which were not as intrinsically vicious as was the fourth.

        • M.Vasiliou says

          These cancerous toxins in the prayer petitions for the 17th AAC of the OCA are as deadly as they are heretical. Has anyone noticed the subtle Christological heresy that denies the masculinity of Christ in these petitions? “He” has been deleted as politically incorrect. Is Christ’s manhood not to be mentioned because it is an embarrassment to the OCA Synod?

          These 2012 prayer petitions also reveal how modernism and ecumenism have crept into the OCA. In addition to gender inclusive language, the more devout Thee/Thou have been replaced by the modernist You/Your. Apparently, the OCA unholy synod and St. Vladimir Seminary have bought into political correctness by mandating modernist and gender inclusive terminology. During recent accreditation interviews, it appeared that SVS had to capitulate to feminists in order to maintain their accreditation status, but perhaps the OCA Synod is the one who is eagerly promoting the feminist agenda.

          Will the OCA Synod abandon the RSV and KJV in favor of the NRSV, the New American Bible of the Catholic Church, or the New Jerusalem Bible, which are all known for their gender inclusiveness?

          Also notice that these modernist and ecumenist prayers sound very similar to those used in the Episcopalian and Anglican worship services, and in the Novus Ordo of the Roman Catholic Church with the repeated refrain, “We pray You, … we pray You, hear us and have mercy.”

          Finally, one must ask: Who wrote these heretical prayers? Surely, it was not the Holy Spirit.

          These are the heretical prayers as copied from the OCA website:



          Furthermore we pray You, O Lord our Almighty and Eternal God, Source of all
          wisdom and understanding, be with us as we prepare to gather in Council so that
          in our striving to serve and glorify You, we may be enlightened with right
          judgment and good purpose to the building up of Your Holy Church and to Your
          eternal glory, we pray You, hear us and have mercy…

          Again we pray You, O Lord our God, giver of every good gift, look with favor
          upon Your Church and bless and guide our minds and hearts, and grant us by the
          grace of Your All-holy Spirit an increase in faith and understanding, so that in
          vigilance, fasting and prayer we are prepared for the holy work of this
          Electoral Council, we pray You, hear us and have mercy…

          Furthermore we pray You, O Lord our God, send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and
          guide our minds and hearts so that, inspired by Your gifts of discernment and
          understanding, we may know and do Your holy will in the election of a
          Metropolitan for our Holy Church in North America, we pray You, hear us and have

          Again we pray You, O Lord our God, in Your holy and providential care for us,
          call forth for a Metropolitan of wisdom, understanding, sanctity to cooperate in
          working with the Holy Synod, the pastors and faithful of our Holy Church, so
          that together we may be that light on the lampstand and the salt of the earth
          working together in loving service to Christ our God and thus to one another, we
          pray You, hear us and have mercy.

          • DCOrthodox says

            I’m not sure quite what you are saying here M. In the original Greek, the first petition of the Litany of Fervent Supplication reads as follows:

            Ἐλἑησον ἡμᾶς ὁ Θεός, κατὰ τὸ μέγα ἔλεός Σου, δεόμεθά Σου, ἐπάκουσον καὶ ἐλέησον.

            Have mercy on us, O God, according to Thy great mercy, we pray to Thee, hear us and have mercy!

            Furthermore, in Greek, each subsequent petition begins with the phrase “Again we pray…” However, though it is unusual to end each individual petition with “we pray to Thee, hear us and have mercy,” it is a phrase that has its source in the Orthodox tradition, wherever else it may appear, and is more indicative of sloppy liturgical compilation than of creeping ecumenism.

            Also, the OCA has been using You/Who rather than Thee/Thou for the liturgical texts published on its website for at least the past year. In my personal experience, the GOA, AOCANA and the OCA use You/Who consistently, while ROCOR uses Thee/Thou almost exclusively; though many individual GOA clergy and chanters will only say Thee/Thou.

            Finally, I am not sure where you think the masculinity of Christ is being denied in these petitions. You might be right in that such a denial is present, but I do not see it if it is.

            Overall, the first three petitions sound relatively standard, save for the awkward ending, as noted above. However, the fourth and final petition has a different tone than the others, and does not seem to be coming from an Orthodox mindset. However, if the Bishops have ordered that they be said, then the Church must respond in obedience to her shepherds.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              Throughout the world the Orthodox Church has officially condemned using so-called inclusive language when refering to God. The Antiochian Archdiocese does not use modern English for its translations. Our official liturgical texts are all in King James English. It may be that on the web site, the person preparing the texts uses a translation for something from the Menaion, Triodion, Pentecostarion or Oktoechos that uses modern English, but anything that our Archdiocese publishes is always in the traditional language. Unfortunately the only affordable version of the Menaion is published by the Melkites and uses modern English.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Fr, I applaud the Antiochians for keeping to Elizabethan English. It is far more euphonic and sacred. The petitions which the Synod put out are not only theologically questionable (certainly ecclesiologically so) but also new-agey and thus infantile.

                • fr. ambrose says

                  The use of Elizabethan/Shakespearean English is extremely important as it helps to create a spiritual mindset and prayer language, and this approach is very Orthodox, very traditional. I note that we don’t try to modernize The Lord’s Prayer or the plays of Shakespeare “so that they can be more easily understood”! The dumbing down of American culture is only aided and abetted by the use of modern or street language in the divine services and Scripture readings. –Fr. Ambrose

              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                The Apostol published by St. Tikhon’s Monastery (OCA) also uses Elizabethan English, although not straight from the King James. Its preface gives a good defense of its traditional style.

            • I personally find those added petitions to dull, hollow, verbose, repetitive, completely “out of tune” with the rest of the prayers of our Divine Services, and, yes, not coming from an Orthodox mindset. To me, that last petition is abominable. I was struggling with the necessity of praying them until I remembered Matthew 23, “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do,” praying I am not taking that out of context for this particular case.

              • Protodeacon (and all clergy), you certainly do not *have* to use the petitions as prescribed.

                For one thing, you can always ask for permission to either skip the fourth or replace it. George M. pointed out that some clergy have done this already.

                For another, I really don’t think the Synod has any right to force you to pray that petition against your conscience and better judgment.

              • M.Vasiliou says

                If there are severe doubts regarding these petition prayers, as the good Protodeacon has mentioned, should her priests and deacons continue to pray them during the Divine Liturgy especially if their conscience bids them to use the older and more Orthodox prayers of the 15th All-American Council (AAC)?

                When heresy raises it ugly head in the form of modernism (use of You/Your, acceptance of freemasonry, toleration of sinful behaviors, abandoning the fasts), ecumenism (membership in the NCC, WCC, interfaith prayer events, and use of the New Calendar), and inclusive language, which denies the manhood and Kingship of Christ, then priests, monks, and laity are free to seek true shepherds. Priests, Bishops, and even Met. Jonah can seek, without a so-called “canonical release,” to follow true shepherds and Holy Synods who will rightly divide the word of the truth.

                Re: DC Orthodox’s statement:

                … However, if the Bishops have ordered that they be said, then the Church must respond in obedience to her shepherds.

                Asking OCA faithful, monastics, and clergy to obey with blind fidelity their hierarchs who have not only (1) uncanonically forced Met. Jonah’s resignation, but also have (2) uncanonically interfered with his performance of his duties and have (3) approved these heretical AAC prayer petitions, is absurd. Demanding blind obedience to these hierarchs can be a trap to the unwary and lead to loss of salvation because of obfuscation of the real spiritual truth. Continual obedience to these ungodly OCA Bishops means that OCA members are complicit in this OCA Synod conspiracy that continues to persecute Met. Jonah and other good men. Remember the old adage: by silence, one gives consent.

                If an order to obey is wrong and heretical, then certainly, laity and clergy should not obey, but should speak out boldly and/or revert to the use of more Orthodox prayers from past AACs. If the OCA Bishops insist, then laity and clergy should run, not walk, to the nearest True Orthodox Church.

                Re: Protodeacons’ quote from Matthew 23:

                ”Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do,” praying I am not taking that out of context for this particular case.

                Thus, Protodeacon, the remembrance of these ungodly men and their ungodly prayer petitions (their works) should not be included in the Divine Liturgy.

                To DC Orthodox:

                Below are the third and fourth prayer petitions from the 15th AAC

                Furthermore we pray that the Lord our God, Who raises up servants in every time and in every place as leaders for His people, will send His Holy Spirit upon us and so guide our minds and hearts that, inspired by His gifts of discernment and understanding, we may know and do His will as we prepare to elect a new Metropolitan.

                Again we pray that the Lord our God, in His mercy and providential care for us, will call forth for His flock a true shepherd of wisdom and strength, blessing us with a Metropolitan to care for the well-being of our Church, and to unite His faithful people in a zealous confession of the Orthodox faith, in loving service to one another, and a bright witness to the glory of His Holy Name.

                Below are the current heretical petitions. Notice the ambiguity that results from inclusive language which denies the Manhood of Christ. Christ is not referred to as “He” or “His.” Nowhere is His manhood mentioned. By silence, consent of this Christological heresy is made manifest.

                Furthermore we pray You, O Lord our God, send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and guide our minds and hearts so that, inspired by Your gifts of discernment and understanding, we may know and do Your holy will in the election of a Metropolitan for our Holy Church in North America, we pray You, hear us and have mercy…

                Again we pray You, O Lord our God, in Your holy and providential care for us, call forth for a Metropolitan of wisdom, understanding, sanctity to cooperate in working with the Holy Synod, the pastors and faithful of our Holy Church, so that together we may be that light on the lampstand and the salt of the earth working together in loving service to Christ our God and thus to one another, we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

                • DCOrthodox says

                  Reverend Fathers,

                  I did not mean to imply that many official texts of the AOCANA and the OCA do use the more proper Elizabethan English, but rather that, in my own somewhat limited personal experience, individual clerics of these jurisdictions often prefer to use You/Who, rather than Thee/Thou. In my own humble opinion, however, this does not rise nearly to the level of heresy, though it does make for a less beautiful Liturgy.

                  M., I am very concerned with some of the things you are saying here. You seem to be advocating for schism from the Church. Yes, the bishops seem to have acted quite uncharitably in the deposition of Metropolitan JONAH, but they are still in communion with the rest of the Universal Church. No Church, not Constantinople. nor Alexandria, nor Antioch, nor Jerusalem, nor Moscow, nor Cyprus, nor Athens, nor any other autocephalous Church has broken with communion with the OCA because of this deposition. I do not demand blind obedience to the hierarchs; on the contrary, I believe we should remember that they put their pants on just like everyone else. However, we must remember that, in the end, unless we are clergy, we are responsible primarily for our own salvation.

                  Do you urge people to flee to the so-called “True Orthodox” Churches? Those which have separated themselves from the Body of Christ by schism and heresy? In 1449, the Council of Florence “united” the Orthodox Church to the Latin papacy. St. Mark of Ephesus, that great pillar of Orthodoxy, spoke, preached and argued against the union, together with most of the people of the dying Empire. Yet, when the union was signed, did they enter into schism? Did the people receive the holy mysteries only from the hand of the Saint, and not from any other priest or Bishop of the empire? Most certainly not! The Church in that place had fallen into a far greater heresy than is present in ANY canonical Church in America today, and yet the people did not separate themselves from the church. Same in the late 1700s, in Greece, where papism ran rampant. Yet the great Kolyvades Fathers of Mount Athos and those they influenced (Sts. Kosmas of Aetolia, Nikodemos of Athos, Athanasios of Paros, Nikephoros of Chios, Makarios of Corinth, etc.) did not separate themselves from the Church, but worked from within for its renewal.

                  I agree with you that the petitions do miss wonderful opportunities (which you note) to doubly affirm the masculinity, kingship, etc. of Christ. However, perhaps because of my naivete, I do not see the omission of these in every place you note a conspiracy to deny the divinity of Christ. I am not a clergyman, and I cannot tell anyone to do anything which is against their conscience. However, we must preserve a level of trust and love for the hierarchs of our Holy Church, and trust that God, who loves His Church far more than any of us can imagine, will pilot her to the haven of salvation which He has prepared for us. May the Most-Holy Theotokos, together with the Forerunner, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Fathers, the Ascetics, the Prophets and all the Saints, intercede for us in the Holy Orthodox Church here in America, and throughout the world, and continue to be our most fervent intercessors at the dread Throne of Christ our God.

                • M. Vasiliou, I have no idea where you are getting the idea that the petitions are denying the maleness of Christ. I get a lot of what you are saying, but all I can see is that they changed from third-person to second-person. Now did they change because they wanted to remove reference to the maleness of Christ? It’s possible, but it is not in evidence in the petitions themselves that I can see.

                  As for the You/Thee difference, I have to say I really have no opinion one way or the other which one people use. But since you brought SVS into this in an earlier comment, I need to point out that according to my copy of the SVS green Liturgy book, they use Thee/Thou in reference to God, You/Your for the Theotokos and the saints. That’s not an entirely consistent way to go, but maybe that’s their way of splitting the difference.

                  There are plenty of problems going on with these petitions and other things, and I have heard of “inclusive language” liturgies in the OCA, so I know it is a very real problem. But you need to check this argument, and if you can’t find any indication that they changed the petition specifically to remove reference to the maleness of Christ, you need to retract it.

                  • M.Vasiliou says


                    The mere fact that the OCA unholy Synod is using politically correct inclusive language in those mandated AAC prayer petitions means that these bishops are going along with the feminist agenda, which seeks to rid the English language of any male terminology be it: Father, Son, King, Master, Lord, He, His, etc.

                    Use of this inclusive language distorts our holy Orthodox prayers and gives the impression, whether one likes to admit it or not, that maleness is wrong or lacking in Christ. Furthermore, it is not just a matter of switching from the third person to the second person. The polite and respectful use of modals (will, can, would, could) are sorely lacking in the most recent petitions. When addressing Christ our Lord in all the four 15th AAC prayers, there is a sacred reverence observed. We the creatures petition God our Creator for help. Christ is addressed indirectly (in the third person) and with respect and humility. However, in the 17th AAC prayers, Christ is directly addressed (in the second person) without respect or humility, and He is told what to do and how to do it. Thus, sacred reverential politeness is replaced with a rude prideful arrogance.

                    This is precisely what the U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops did when they introduced the Novus Ordo and inclusive language. It was claimed in Catholic World Report that more than 25 million U. S. Catholics left the Roman Catholic Church between 1970 and 1995 largely due largely to the fact that sacredness and reverence were no longer to be found in the Mass, and that Satan had entered the sanctuary.

                    I visited a Roman Catholic Church in 1994, and was shocked to hear the congregation singing: Her Name is Jesus. Is that not blasphemy? Is that not heresy?

                    Now the U.S. OCA Bishops are repeating the same asinine abomination that the Papists have pulled. Well, perhaps this development is not surprising at all. Perhaps, as Bishop Alexander Golitzin confided to me back in 1998, “Unity with the Roman Catholic Church will come to pass. It is a matter of time.” Yes, with the New Calendar in place, with inclusive language, with an MC that acts like the Vatican, and a Synod that already performs like the infallible Papacy, what else needs to be capitulated?

                    Brothers and Sisters, we have been sold down the river.

                    As a reference, here is the fourth prayer from the 15th AAC:

                    Again we pray that the Lord our God, in His mercy and providential care for us, will call forth for His flock a true shepherd of wisdom and strength, blessing us with a Metropolitan to care for the well-being of our Church, and to unite His faithful people in a zealous confession of the Orthodox faith, in loving service to one another, and a bright witness to the glory of His Holy Name.

                    Here is the same fourth prayer which has been greatly adulterated and modernized with disrespectful rude language for the 17th AAC:

                    Again we pray You, O Lord our God, in Your holy and providential care for us, call forth for a Metropolitan of wisdom, understanding, sanctity to cooperate in working with the Holy Synod, the pastors and faithful of our Holy Church, so that together we may be that light on the lampstand and the salt of the earth working together in loving service to Christ our God and thus to one another, we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

                    DC Orthodox,

                    When a Synod of Bishops acts in a heretical manner, then laity, for their own salvation, can and should find a holy Orthodox Bishop. The canons allow for this. This is what the laity, monastics, and clergy did during the Arian heresy.

                    • While I do not trust the OCA synod in any way whatsoever and I do not doubt that many of its members support all sorts of heterodox agendas, I do not see a feminist agenda here in these petitions. The new set of prayers, while groteqsue with their implicit slander of Metropolitan Jonah, are addressed directly to God, which makes them sinful. Strictly speaking, the older petitions are directing the faithful to pray with a specific intent, but they themselves are not prayers to God. Both forms are used in our services, but to say that these new petitions were rendered in the second person specifically to avoid masculine pronouns is hard to argue credibly. The same could be said of the Lord’s Prayer, no? Yes, it begins with “Father,” but you won’t find a single “He/Him” in it. The problem is that when the faithful’s trust is violated by the bishops and even the seminaries, it’s easy to to distrust everything that comes from them, and the relationship is broken.

                • Thank you, M.Vasiliou, for the third and fourth prayer petitions from the 15th AAC.

                  • M.Vasiliou says

                    Dear Protodeacon,

                    Here are the complete set of 15th AAC prayer petitions:

                    “Prayers for the 15th All-American Council and Election of the New Metropolitan of All American and Canada to be inserted in the Litany of Fervent Supplication:

                    Furthermore we pray that the Lord our Almighty and Eternal God, the Source of all wisdom and understanding, will be present with us as we prepare to gather in Council; and that in our striving to serve and glorify Him He will enlighten us with right judgment and godly purpose to His glory and the building up of His Holy Church.

                    Again we pray that the Lord our God, the Giver of every good gift, will look with favor upon His Church and bless and guide the minds and hearts of His people being gathered by the grace of the Holy Spirit; and that He will increase in us holy conversation, vigilance, fervent prayer, and trust in Him, guiding our plans and deliberations with faith and knowledge of His will for us.

                    Furthermore we pray that the Lord our God, Who raises up servants in every time and in every place as leaders for His people, will send His Holy Spirit upon us and so guide our minds and hearts that, inspired by His gifts of discernment and understanding, we may know and do His will as we prepare to elect a new Metropolitan.

                    Again we pray that the Lord our God, in His mercy and providential care for us, will call forth for His flock a true shepherd of wisdom and strength, blessing us with a Metropolitan to care for the well-being of our Church, and to unite His faithful people in a zealous confession of the Orthodox faith, in loving service to one another, and a bright witness to the glory of His Holy Name.”

            • M.Vasiliou says

              When heresy raises it ugly head in the form of modernism (use of You/Your, acceptance of freemasonry, toleration of sinful behaviors, abandoning the fasts), ecumenism (membership in the NCC, WCC, interfaith prayer events, and use of the New Calendar), and inclusive language, which denies the manhood and Kingship of Christ, then priests, monks, and laity are free to seek true shepherds. Priests, Bishops, and even Met. Jonah can seek, without a so-called “canonical release,” to follow true shepherds and Holy Synods who will rightly divide the word of the truth.

              If there are severe doubts regarding these petition prayers, should her priests and deacons continue to pray them during the Divine Liturgy especially if their conscience bids them to use the older and more Orthodox prayers of the 15th or 16th All-American Council (AAC)?

              Asking OCA faithful, monastics, and clergy to obey with blind fidelity their hierarchs who have not only (1) uncanonically forced Met. Jonah’s resignation, but also (2) uncanonically interfered with his performance of his duties and (3) have approved these heretical AAC prayer petitions, is absurd. Demanding blind obedience to these hierarchs is like whitewashing those Germans who blindly participated in the Nazi persecution and execution of Jews. Obeying these OCA Bishops implies that OCA members are complicit in this OCA Synod conspiracy that continues to persecute Met. Jonah and other good men.

              If an order to obey is wrong and heretical, then certainly, laity and clergy should not obey, but should speak out boldly and/or revert to the use of more Orthodox prayers from past AACs. If the OCA Bishops insist, then laity and clergy should run, not walk, to the nearest True Orthodox Church.

              Matthew 23, ”Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do,” praying I am not taking that out of context for this particular case.

              Thus, Protodeacon, the remembrance of these ungodly men and their ungodly prayer petitions (their works) should not be included in the Divine Liturgy.

              To DC Orthodox:

              [b]Below are the third and fourth prayer petitions from the 15th AAC[/b]

              Furthermore [b]we pray that the Lord our God[/b], [b]Who[/b] raises up servants in every time and in every place as leaders for [b]His[/b] people, will send [b]His[/b] Holy Spirit upon us and so guide our minds and hearts that, inspired by [b]His[/b] gifts of discernment and understanding, we may know and do [b]His[/b] will as we prepare to elect a new Metropolitan.

              Again [b]we pray that the Lord our God[/b], in [b]His[/b] mercy and providential care for us, will call forth for [b]His[/b] flock a true shepherd of wisdom and strength, blessing us with a Metropolitan to care for the well-being of our Church, and to unite [b]His[/b] faithful people in a zealous confession of the Orthodox faith, in loving service to one another, and a bright witness to the glory of [b]His Holy Name[/b].

              I am not sure where you think the masculinity of Christ is being denied in these petitions. You might be right in that such a denial is present, but I do not see it if it is.

              Overall, the first three petitions sound relatively standard, save for the awkward ending, as noted above. However, the fourth and final petition has a different tone than the others, and does not seem to be coming from an Orthodox mindset. However, if the Bishops have ordered that they be said, then the Church must respond in obedience to her shepherds.

          • lexcaritas says

            Indeed, my brother M. Vasiliou, very much like the Episcopalians. Some of us suffered this stuff for two decades and had hoped to find a refuge from it in the resiliance of Orthodoxy . . .


          • lexcaritas says

            Looking at the syle and content of the existing Litany of Fervent Supplication, wouldn’t a single petition along these lines have fit in better:




    • lexcaritas says

      And what were the “good reasons,” Mr. Paine; please, pray tell–a comprehensive list WITH SPECIFICS. Some of us have been followign this closely for over two years and have never gotten any that were credible and accurate.


    • lexcaritas says

      Our agend is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Why would we want to destroy a jurisdiction that we joined with high hopes based on the living witnesses of ++Dimitri and ++Jonah and other good priests through the Diocese of Dallas and the South who walk in their footsteps and those of our Lord?


      • George Michalopulos says

        totally agreed Lex. What we are trying to do is save the OCA from itself. Otherwise it will disintegrate.

      • fr. ambrose says

        Yes, Lex, our agenda is and must be Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen. The question is whether one has hierarchs who are capable of teaching this message, of actually “incarnating” it, of “rightly dividing the word of truth”, and being images of Christ in each diocese. And the only way to know that is by examining their words, their actions, their behaviors–and not just in formal statements, but in ALL ways. And if they are found not to be “other Christs” in our midst, then one must go looking for those who can be. Our salvation is at stake, ya know, and there are many other good and fully Christian and Orthodox bishops in the world besides the few in the OCA. –Fr. Ambrose

    • Mr. Thomas Paine–how about reading ChristineFevronia’s “Open Letter to the Orthodox Church in America”? That might bring you up to speed. But, only if you’re interested in the truth, of course.

    • There was no conspiracy.

      Well, reach for a dictionary. See if bishops meeting secretly from their Primate to decide on ways to remove him constitutes conspiracy.

      • Mitrich,

        You are 100% correct. This synod met on various occasions via phone, email and worked to corner Jonah and then shove him over the edge. +Benjamin was the focal point of these meetings. He is well-schooled in such maneuvers. He did it to Bishop Tikhon, calling Herman all the time telling him that Tikhon was crazy. He did it to Nikolai working behind the scenes. Hell, he did it to Herman after carrying Herman’s water to get rid of Kondratick.

        If there is a cancer in the OCA, it is killing the OCA from San Francisco. Benjamin is the cancer and he needs to be cut out if the OCA has any chance to survive.

        If the members of the OCA don’t have the spiritual heft to recognize this cancer and they allow it to metastasize then the diagnosis is indeed terminal.

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Greetings, Thomas Paine. I’ve always appreciated your wisdom. In fact, some of my favorite sayings (perhaps applicable to the OCA’s current state of affairs) originated from you:

      “It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry”
      “The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance”
      “It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance”
      “Let them call me a rebel and welcome. I feel no concern from it. I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul.”

      You say we posters aren’t dealing with “reality”. I thought I’d share with you the “reality” of the situation as I know it:

      1. The Synod and the MC have been actively engaged in the character assassination of Met. Jonah for the past two years.
      2. The Synod has defamed Met. Jonah by insinuating that he is insane, that his mental faculties are compromised, and they ultimately demanded he check himself into an inpatient psychiatric facility for six months.
      3. The Synod has lied to the entire world about Met. Jonah, wrongfully declaring he covered up the actions of, and protected, a rapist priest.
      4. The Synod has presented to the world that Met. Jonah is a criminal by saying he participated in covering up information about Abp Seraphim’s alleged molestation of two boys that took place decades ago.
      5. The Synod maliciously compared Met. Jonah to serial child molester Jerry Sandusky.
      6. The Synod has lied by saying that Met. Jonah “retired”, not that he was forced to resign.
      7. The Synod has wrongfully removed Met. Jonah from his role as ruling bishop of the Diocese of Washington, DC, a role he did not resign from, nor should be removed from until a new Metropolitan is elected in November
      8. Members of the Synod and the MC are actively promoting the “gay agenda”. Diocesan bishops have welcomed into the OCA open homosexual couples; given communion to unrepentent homosexual couples; given communion to transsexuals; and one bishop is married to another man.
      9. Tithing funds are now going to be used for a private security force employed by the Synod to patrol the church property where the AAC will be held in November. For what purpose? To prevent the faithful–who paid those very tithes–from asking any questions about the manner in which Met. Jonah has been treated.

      If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I have the strength of faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor, and give over my body to be tortured as a martyr, but do not have love, I am nothing.

      Without love, the church is nothing.

      The silent majority of the OCA–“the Stepford Laity”–are blindly following the Synod’s resounding gongs and clanging cymbals on their Death March to Parma. That, Thomas Paine, is the reality of the situation.

      • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

        I don’t recall any claim that any BISHOP was married to another man.I understood that it was an Archdeacon who allegedly “married” a man in California,and then returned to Florida AND has been allowed to resume serving as a deacon.To me, the main scandal is that he PUBLICLY registered his insult to the church and her teachings and returned to serving after this “marriage” fell through.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          How can that be? If an Antiochian Deacon did such a thing, he would be laicized immediately by his Bishop. How can the OCA allow a man who married another man in a homosexual relationship continue to serve?

        • I am totally puzzled by the fact that that Archdeacon was not, and is still not, liaised!

          • Hi PdnNJ,

            I believe you meant “laicized.” Yes, this reveals a totally bewildering spiritual impotence within the hierarchy of the OCA. On behalf of our faithful clergy and people (the Lord know who those are), I pray those who have the capacity to expose the source of that impotence and exorcize it will be granted grace to do so and soon!

          • Defend the Faith. says

            Father Deacon,

            This “archdeacon” deposed himself when he ran off to California and married another man. His long-time partner and companion, “Bishop” Mark Forsberg ran after him to California and begged him to come back home to Florida.

            This case was fully investigated by Fr Garklavs when he was chancellor, with full documentation, and the full admission of the “archdeacon” that he had done this terrible and immoral thing. Yet, the investigation was blocked by Archbishop Nathaniel and Bishop Nikon, both longtime friends of Mark and the “archdeacon” Gregory. They have protected this couple for decades.

            If the OCA Synod cannot act with a clear eye in this most obvious case, can we at all be surprised that they act the way they do now in disposing of Metropolitan Jonah? The puzzlement is how they can stand up before the Church with any sense of legitimacy, expect us to follow them while they cover up for their friends and punish their enemies.

            This is just one example of the deep corruption that infects the OCA, and, the good clergy and people suffer under this burden of corruption. It is just another sin that cries to Heaven for God’s justice. There will be justice, in the end, but in the meantime, the OCA is being eaten up from this disease.

            No matter who is elected in Parma, unless the corruption is finally cut out and exposed to the merciful Light of Christ, nothing will change in the OCA. You can’t build a Church on a decaying foundation. It will not be strong and it will crumble.

            This is the battle at hand. It is beyond Jonah, his lot was just another symptom of the decay. We must remember the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, for it it happened in those days that the Lord God exposed the sins of His people and out of His mercy swept aside their wickedness, He will do the same to this OCA.


            [1] The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
            [2] Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
            [3] And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,
            [4] Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:
            [5] That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD.
            [6] Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them.
            [7] For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.
            [8] Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.
            [9] And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
            [10] They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.
            [11] Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
            [12] Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
            [13] For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.
            [14] Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.
            [15] What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.
            [16] The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
            [17] For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.
            [18] And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings.
            [19] But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.
            [20] But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.
            [21] Therefore thus saith the LORD of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand:
            [22] Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:
            [23] And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Pardon me champ, I certainly don’t mean to needlessly intrude into your righteous “casting from the temple” of the “OCA Synod [who] cannot act with a clear eye in this most obvious case,” only to hypocritically justify “disposing of Metropolitan Jonah” himself. But you have forgotten this was the “opening farewell” of Mrs. Jeremiah Dreher, who took matters of a former Metropolitan cum Locum Tenens of the DOS needing to “man up” into her own hands and confronted him mujer-y-Big Fish: “She ended by telling him, through tears, that the faithful need our bishops to be morally straight, and strong, and trustworthy, and they had better bloody well man up.” WAT? Who’s leading whom, brotha’?


              • Dear M.S.,

                I went to http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/rod-dreher-its-time-bishops-man-up/

                What I saw there was the same kind of innuendo about bishops and priests, i.e. very few facts and none of them very specific. The innuendo was that Bishop Mark Forsberg, retired to Florida for unknown reasons from an unknown diocese, has a housemate and helper? that is an homosexually active archdeacon, and that this fact somehow besmirches the retired Bishop Mark Forsberg himself, some sort of guilt by association. Or is the innuendo further intended to nudge us into believing that perhaps the retired Bishop struggles with same-sex attraction?

                The hearsay is that the bishop ran to California to prevent his helper / roommate falling into sin by contracting a homosexual marriage.

                Then it seems that one Mrs. Julia Dreher traveled from parts unknown to Washington, D.C. to let our Metropolitan know certain unknown facts that led our Metropolitan to conclude that there were grounds for defrocking the archdeacon. Previous to that, the subdeacon’s bishop, Archbishop Dmitri, evidently let the homosexually actively fornicating subdeacon continue to serve because the bishop was under “duress” (pressure?) to so do and because said archbishop was reportedly “enfeebled”. Jonah was locum tenens at the time and should have done something or another with information unfounded or not that he may have had or not had, according to Mr. Dreher. No duress, knowledge or enfeebling excuses for him! Btw, was it Mr. Dreher who was accused of hacking emails in retaliation for emails being hacked during the ocatruth vs ocanews debacle? Or was it another anonymous dude over there?

                May I remind you that the Metropolitan did act on the improper active homosexual lifestyle of the deacon once he actually had some information.

                Certainly there were no suggestions by Mrs. Dreher concerning the behavior of the bishop with whom the archdeacon makes his residence, or he would have been defrocked as well. Perhaps she could apply for the job of Sex Tsar? But would she leave the south for Syosset?

                • LOH, Metropolitan Jonah was absolutely NOT Locum Tenens of the South when Julie Dreher went to talk with him. He had been removed as locum tenens two months prior at Santa Fe, and replaced by Bishop Nikon of Boston.

                  Metropolitan Jonah wrote to Bishop Nikon to ask him to take action, which Bishop Nikon disregarded.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Thank you once again, Helga, for setting the record straight.

                    • According to the hearsay of Mrs. Dreher’s recounting to her husband in her husband’s somewhat condemnatory article, Metropolitan Jonah did precisely that. He heard whatever testimony Mrs. Dreyer had, he acted upon it, and yet the implementation of his action, the defrocking, was never done by the bishop in charge of implementation, Nikon.. The initial decision to defrock was Metropolitan Jonah’s and was ignored

                      What struck me the most in Mr. Dreher’s testimony on behalf of his wife was:

                      1. Mrs. Dreyer wasn’t speaking for herself in the article
                      2. Sloppy chronology in the article makes it difficult to parse
                      3.. Archbishop Dmitri was culpable of allowing an active homosexual to serve
                      4. Archbishop Nikon is culpable of allowing an active homosexual to serve
                      5. Bishop Mark Forsberg has evidently allowed an active homosexual to serve

                      and, worst of all, despite his efforts to have the miscreant defrocked,

                      6. Metropolitan Jonah, the only person who attempted to defrock an active homosexual subdeacon through proper channels, is being blamed for the inaction of others while following canonical protocol.

                      7. Are retired bishops defrocked? Are there grounds for defrocking Bishop Mark Forsberg?

      • Re: #9
        According to the deligate handbook, if I understand it correctly, the observers shall be kept in a separate specific area, and shall remain there until the vote in over.
        I imagine, you can get ready for being housed in a separate part of the church and wired up to a TV to watch the goings on, under the watchful eye of the Security Force provided for your safety.
        There will, according to the agenda be NO time for questions nor an opportunity to question.
        THIS IS A TOTAL SHAM of a AAC.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Curious, who will count the votes? Since it is obvious that Syosset is reverting to Stalinism, let us quote their intellectual godfather, good ole Uncle Joe himself: “It doesn’t matter how people vote, it matters who counts the votes.”

          • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

            I’m sure in the former Soviet Union there were Red Army soldiers stationed in the polling places,”Of course,Ivan here wants to vote the straight Communist ticket”(not that there were candidates from any other party on the ballot).
            I recall political cartoons concerning the post Civil War South where white Southerners would be at the polling places to see that blacks voted “right”,that is Democrat;also where Union Soldiers would see to it that blacks DIDN’T vote Democrat.

          • I would encourage EVERYONE to read pages 10-12 of the Delegate Handbook (link below). According to the Handbook:

            The church doors will be sealed. OCA Secretary Eric Tosi will hand out his “certified” ballots to the elected tellers for distribution to the delegates. Each ballot will then be reviewed, and if the names don’t agree with the requirements written on page 11, they will be invalid. The tellers will then put the ballots in a box, seal it, and it will be given to the chairman of the tellers. The tellers then count the ballots in a secret location. And then…

            “Immediately after the tabulation is completed and the report is signed, the chairman
            of tellers shall place the ballots in the box, seal it, and deliver it to the Secretary of the
            OCA after presenting his report to the Council. The box shall be in the custody of the
            Secretary of the OCA until the election is completed, at which time the Secretary of the
            OCA in the presence of the members of the Secretariat shall destroy the ballots.”

            The ballots will be destroyed. (Did everyone catch that?) Then the Synod goes into the Sanctuary, where they “elect the Metropolitan by secret ballot, the votes being counted by the chairman of tellers… Only Diocesan Bishops are voting members of the Synod.”


            • Wow their actions show me they are terrified. As much as some people talk here and elsewhere that it is only a small minority who disapprove of the actions of our bishops this behavior tells me THEY know quite a large percentage of the OCA are not happy with the treatment of +Jonah. This is very telling.

            • fatherpep@gmail.com says

              Wow-this sure sounds familiar. Sort of like when you could vote for Stalin or Stalin.

            • lexcaritas says

              Resonding to our brother Nate B’s posting: If this is the way the SOBs and the Syosset staff view elections, perhaps a complete boycott of Parma is better after all.

              Is this way the Body of Christ works? in darkness and in secret? Who adopted these rules? Was this action authorized? It should be publicly and vociferously opposed.

              Frankly, I am more and more appalled as the days go by, and the more I learn of this jurisidiction which once wanted to be THE Orthodox Church in America, and the way it is run and freely choosing to conduct its business and mission (whatever it is??), the less I want in good faith to contribute treasure, time, talent and presence to it. How could one enthusiastically invite one’s non-Orthodox friends to come in, when this is what they will experience once they do? And yet, where else is one to turn, when parishes and missions are so few and far between? My own parish is wonderful, but there is not another like for 300 miles.

              Fr. Justin and other like-minded priests, what consolation, what advice can you offer? Is there any move whatever among the concerned clergy to act together and in concert? if not, we are lost. A priest who acts alone will be sanctioned; if a vast majority of one or more dioceses stand together the powers that be cannot successfully oppose it.


            • Pardon my ignorance, but could I ask some specific questions based on the above?

              1. Who is the

              Secretary of the OCA?

              2. Who comprises

              the Secretariat

              3. Why do only the Diocesan bishops vote? Do they get to hear the results of the votes of everyone else which get destroyed ?

              4. Does Metropolitan Jonah as Archbishop of Washington go into the sanctuary to cast his vote?

              5. How does this process differ from previous AACs, if at all?

              6. How does this differ form other jurisdictions?

        • face-it, that’s the only way they can “win.”

    • “There was no conspiracy. A 100% agreement of the Holy Synod does not occur frivolously.

      “100% you say? Prove it.

    • “The stench begins in Los Angeles, continues to Dallas and has small pockets in Washington, D.C. Cancers need to be “exposed” and cut out.”

      Wrong again! It’s all over the country.

    • Thomas Paine says:
      October 1, 2012 at 8:08 am
      “The posters here aren’t dealing with reality. Parma is not a “robber council.” The Holy Synod of the OCA removed Met. Jonah for good reasons. There was no conspiracy. A 100% agreement of the Holy Synod does not occur frivolously.”
      The reality that you are not dealing with is that the HS would not and will not conduct the necessary Spiritual Court to state and prove their case for the removal of Met.+Jonah, and so, confirm what you contend, in accordance with the Church Canons and OCA Statues. Instead, they have unceremoniously ousted him with unproved or disproved allegations, and treated him with contempt, duress and coercion, and are still doing so. And now they are going to conduct an unrepentant Special Electoral Council to foist the election of a new Primate on the Christ-following priests and lay representatives of the parishes of our Church.
      May our Lord have mercy on us all, and guide us on His Way to Eternal Life!

      • That’s all true, Protodeacon. However, let’s not give Syosset the impression that they can now set up some kind of a kangaroo “spiritual” court to torment Met. Jonah further. We will not accept the results of some Syosset travesty “judged” by the same bishops who have already condemned him without trial.

        • Yes, Helga, it’s too late for a impartial Spiritual Court for Met. Jonah.
          His opponents have too much of themselves invested in their present choice of action.

    • I know this priest. He wrote to me personally. I gave him all information, but he doesn’t want to know the truth. He is 100% right about the cancer, but the cancer is on the other side. The Synod and Syosset brought the grievous illness to the OCA. All of us, the laity and the priests of good will are standing together to state the right diagnosis and to heal the church, even if all OCA bureaucracy will be against us, and even if it will take the rest of our lives. One GULAG is sufficient for the entire world. We don’t need an American GULAG. Look, they even not ashamed of just the same tactics such as “an inpatient psychiatric facility”. Is it a lack of imagination or intentional symbolical action of the same force?

    • You are correct–a 100% agreement does not occur frivilously!!
      It is a banding together to conspire against a Bishop–FORBIDDEN BY THE CANONS!

      how else could Jillions tell the metropolitan that there was a unanimous decision for his resignation without the bishops banding together???

  19. In my opinion it would be unwise not to show up to the sobor in Parma if you have the opportunity but do your homework now. Find out who your elected metropolitan council members and work with them now. I think it should be clear to anyone by now that the election of a new metropolitan is going to take place whether you like it or not and even if it’s a vote of two people present, it’s going to happen. The best that can be accomplished is to get a few points across. Here are just a few:

    1. When is the OCA going to publicly state that homosexuality is not in concert with the teachings and beliefs of the Orthodox Christian faith?
    2. Will all of the bishops affirm in writing that they are not homosexual and that the OCA as a matter of principle simply chooses not to ordain homosexual clergy?
    3. When will the OCA formally resolve it’s issues with: (a) Archbishop Seraphim, (b) Bishop Matthias, (c) St. John’s Monastery, (d) Metropolitan Jonah, (e) Archimandrite Isidore, (f) Bishop Nicholai. And if it chooses not to resolve these issues, then isn’t it fair that the funding for the national church be curtailed until such time as they can indeed, sit down and resolve each and every one of them?

    The OCA is not dead, it’s just in the ICU. It has a chance to partially recover but it’s never going to get there until it starts cleaning up the messes. It’s like a dog who has done his business in the kitchen. You can sit there and keep wiping it around hoping it’s going to clear itself up or you can get on your knees, take a deep breath and clean it up in one feel swoop. Seriously, how hard is it to resolve any one of the issues mentioned above? Here are my answers:
    (a) Archbishop Seraphim — Either he is or is not guilty based on the evidence that exists. Have a spiritual court and be done with it.
    (b) Bishop Matthias — Same thing.
    (c) St. John’s monastery — same thing.
    (d) Metropolitan Jonah – The OCA clearly screwed up. Give him a salary, pension and health insurance for the next 20 years and allow him to either go back to his old monastery or start a new one. Yes, this is expensive but it will cost the OCA significantly more if he sues them for defamation and wins. How would any of you like to google your name and have it come up with the word “rape” next to it? The OCA screwed this one up big time.
    (e) Archimandrite Isidore — Spriitual court
    (f) Bishop Nicholai — Spiritual court

    And of course, there is still the ever-present problem of homosexuality in the OCA. Mark my words, until the OCA stops playing the touchy feely game of “it’s okay, they’re just struggling,” and not coming out with a clear condemnation, these problems are going to continue to occur. Why is it so hard to just draw one line in the sand and say something like, “We, the Orthodox Church in America do not feel that homosexuality is in concert with the teachings and beliefs of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic faith, and as a matter of principle we choose not to have bishops, priests and deacons who are homosexual?” You haven’t condemned anyone and you make your views pretty clear. See, it wasn’t so bad.

    Pray, pray, pray!

    • Disgusted With It says

      Excellent points, but do you think anyone will have the guts to not only say it but force the issue when told to sit down?

    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

      My personnal opinion,which I have no way of proving,is that Bishop Matthias was set up.If this is the case,Bishop Michael had better watch his back,he’s likely to be next.It’s just too convienient that out of three bishops who came out in favor of traditional morality,one is coerced into resigning,another is under suspicion,it could be a signal to number three to cool it or face unpleasantness.
      If Mr.Stokoes pastor was indeed part of the council which coerced Metropolitan Jonah into resigning,is that any surprise?I mean,if I were George Michalopoulos’s pastor and part of a council which was instrumental in taking down some “liberal” bishop(for the record,George and I have never met;nor am I an OCA priest),you can bet that,George would be fingered as complicit in said action.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      How can this even be an issue? The teaching of our Church is clear. If the traditional moral teaching of the Church that homosexual acts are sinful and that clergy who engage in them must be suspended causes a controversy in the OCA, there is something seriously wrong with the OCA. For all the criticism that I encounter from OCA sources of the Antiochian Archdiocese, this is not an issue for us. I would rather have a clean shaven Bishop who wears a business suit and clerical collar outside of the Church who is really a celibate, than a Bishop with long hair and a long beard who always wears a rasso and kamilavka with a epanokamelavkion (veil) who is a practicing homosexual or has a girl friend on the side.

      • Why are you sooo concerned with costume and looks. This is tiresome.
        Can you really be a priest?

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          Your last sentence is the reason that I am concerned with costume and looks. Who are you to judge my priesthood? I have heard and read all sorts of criticism of my Bishops and other Antiocian clergy over the issue of beards and cassocks outside of the Church for over 30 years and I am tired of it, especially after reading about all the scandal caused by clergy who on the outside look like they came out of 19 century Russia or Greece, but inside are filled with self-righteousness or are active homosexuals.After reading this blog, I have learned things about the OCA that I never knew. How can the OCA have any credibility as an Orthodox Church if it tolerates practicing homosexuals among its hierarchy, monastics and clergy?

          • It can’t of course have any credibility if it is covering up – or letting slide homosexual activity or heretical teaching, in its clergy, monastics and hierarchy.
            But do you think that the beards, cassocks etc cause the sin?

            Please accept my apology, for questioning your priesthood.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              No I do not think beards and cassocks cause the sin. That is not my point. My point is they do not make the Priest or Bishop. These are externals that really have nothing to do with being a faithful Orthodox Priest or Bishop. What is important is what is a man’s heart not what he wears. I do agree that an Orthodox Priest or Bishop must wear the proper vestments during services. That is part of the Holy Tradition of the Church. However, a Priest or Bishop who is secretly or openly living an immoral life makes a mockery of the sacred vestments he wears during the Divine Liturgy and the other services of the Church. What a Priest or Bishop wears at home or when not conducting services or is at the store or mall really has nothing to do with his sacred calling. When we make these changeable externals the center of our understanding of Orthodoxy, we distort our Holy Orthodox Faith. I once was invited to the consecration of a Rumanian Catholic Bishop. I went out of courtesy because I had met him several times at a restaurant and other places and he was friendly. Obviously I did not participate. I wore my rasso and cross. The uniate clergy wore the rasso and kamalavka and looked more Orthodox by their outward appearance than I did, but I was the real Orthodox Priest there. I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not presume to judge a Priest who wears a cassock where I do not as long as he does not judge me because I do not wear a cassock outside of the Church. I do not want to be as bad as some who judge me because they do not think that I do not dress as a traditional Orthodox Priest all of the time.

              • I take no issue with what you said regarding morality. Absolutely right. With regard to so called “externals” I disagree. The Roman catholics thought that too after Vatican 2 and look where it’s gotten them. Like it or not the Church has a uniform, even if it is outmoded by today’s standards. When you were ordained a priest you became a priest 24-7. You have a sacred ministry and people should be able to see that you are a priest on sight. Let me give you an example: I have known priests who wore their riassa and cross in public and were approached by people needing spiritual help. Had they blended in with the crowd they would not have known to help these people. Furthermore adopting western clergy dress is problematic because of recent scandles and the general public moral ambiguity that plauges the west.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Who is to determine what is the proper dress for an American Antiochian Orthodox Priest? The answer is the Bishop who tells me not to wear a cassock outside of the Church. My Bishop tells me that the proper attire on the street for one of his priests is black pants with a black clerical shirt and collar. The Bishop actually would prefer that I also wear a black jacket, but it is too hot here most of the time for me to wear one. I am an obedient Priest who obeys his Bishop. Therefore, I do not wear a cassock on the street. I have seen plenty of Orthodox Priests from different jurisdictions who do not wear their cassocks on the street, but dress just as I do, including Priests in the OCA. In 1820 the Holy Synod of Russia ruled that clergy “serving abroad” should wear secular attire and trim their hair and beards. The first Orthodox clergy in America, including St. Tikhon, dressed as an American gentleman. Only later did they adopt the clerical collar. There is a picture of the first Priest in Vicksburg taken in 1904, he is wearing a black suit with no clerical collar. Therefore, our Bishops are not really out of step with the historic practice in this country. Only a few Orthodox Bishops in America expect their clergy to wear cassocks on the street.
                  If you study the history of Orthodox clerical dress, it is clear that it has changed through the centuries. Throughout most Orthodox history a married priest dressed in the same attire of other men, except that he always wore black of some other dark color. The canons do not describe how a Priest should dress outside of the Church. The only specific that I have found is that he should wear black. Wearing a cassock is a relatively modern development, at least as far as married Priests goes.
                  I agree that I should dress as a Priest most of the time. Even a Priest has a right to some time off. What difference does it make what I wear when I am at home sitting in the Family Room with my wife watching the news? I were a priest in a country where the people knew what a cassock means, I would wear a cassock on the street, but I am not in a country where people know what a cassock means, even if he wears a cross. I almost always wear a clerical shirt with its uncomfortable collar when I leave the house even when I go to the grocery store. Where I serve, the people know almost nothing about Orthodoxy and would not know that I am an Orthodox Priest if I wore my cassock on the street, most people here would think that I am an Imman or member of some weird cult. They would not know that I am an Orthodox Priest. At least they know that I am some kind of Christian Priest when they see my black shirt and clerical collar. Often people ask me what Church I am from. That gives me an opportunity to tell them something about Orthodoxy. People do approach me to discuss spiritual matters. I have frequently been asked to pray for a sick relative by someone who sees me in an hospital. Besides it is too hot in Mississippi to wear a cassock out of doors most of the year.
                  This brings up a question that I have. Can someone tell me if there is a monastery or some other Orthodox institution in Charlotte, North Carolina? I went through the Charlotte air port three times this summer to change planes. Each time, I saw someone dressed in a cassock in the air port. I was not close enough to them to ask them who they were or where they were going. Does someone know why there would be that many Orthodox monks or clergy wearing cassocks in the Charlotte air port?
                  I want to emphasize that I do not mean to criticize any Orthodox Priest who wears a cassock outside of the Church. It is not my place to judge any other Orthodox Priest by their choice of attire.

                  • V. Rev. Father, actually, married priests too, have always worn cassocks. The only thing that changed and still varies from one ethnic Church to the other is the form of the cassock or rasson ( podryasnik and ryassa) and also the cap. Under the Turks, some priests wore civil clothes. A cassock simply is a long, simple garment and is not of Turkish origin,
                    because Russian and Roman Roman clergy and monks, who for the most part never were under the Ottoman empire, also were them. And, especially in the Russian Church they must
                    not necessarily be black. I have seen white, red, purple and even brocade cassocks and ryassa.
                    There is a picture of St. John of Kronstadt in a brocade ryassa. The only garment that crept into the Orthodox Church from the Turks is the kamilavkhion. Actually, its cylindric form came
                    from the Turkish fez, worn by government officials. The true traditional Orthodox head cover is soft and round, like the Russian Skufia. The Russian Old Ritualists( whom I respect and love)don’t have those flower pot kamilavkhia because they didn’t accept Nikon’s Greek innovations, they only have the skufia, and monks put the veil over that. The purpose of the
                    traditional Orthodox clergy dress and long hair and beard is to look simple, humble, modest and Christlike. I DO NOT say that it is a must, and neither is it always possible, but I think
                    it is preferable. I just remember another post you wrote, something about brownies. Father,
                    I am diabetic and still eat anything I want, granted, less then before, but I don’t totally deprive myself, because that’s not healthy either. I would say,enjoy a Sunday brownie, if they are home made and really good, otherwise the are not worth the calories.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I for one would wish that we emulated the Old Believers with their skufia. Arb Dmitri of blessed memory almost always wore that. They seem more “fitting” rather than the cylinders.

                    • Clare Voyant says

                      I remember catching sight of a cassocked man at O’Hare airport once and chasing him down to take a blessing. And he has since BEEN a blessing to me and my family. If he was in one of those Western “clergy suits” I wouldn’t have noticed and missed out on a blessing from one of God’s annointed.

                      Clergy, for the sake of the Gospel, preach not just with words, but how you conduct yourself; including what you put on in the morning!

                      Don’t be wimps!

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      Thanks for your advice, but after collapsing and being hospitalized in New Orleans because of hypoglycemia, I have to be very careful. After the Divine Liturgy, is the worst time for me to eat brownies or anything with sugar in it because I am already worn out. I put everything into the Divine Liturgy and tune everything else out. The last time the Bishop visited he became ill during the Liturgy. I had to take over after the Great Entrance. As I was saying the prayers, I happened to look to the side and saw him collapsed on the floor. I went on with the Liturgy. Fortunately, there were other people there to take care of him. I am under doctor’s orders to eat before the Liturgy. Once a few months ago, I did not eat anything because our car was in teh shop and we ran out of food. I felt myself growing weak with a cold sweat during the sermon and actually lost my voice for a time. I am not sure how to fast because when I do not eat meat, I get very weak. So, I do the best that I can.

                  • There are two Orthodox monasteries in North Carolina, one each in Lawsonville and Troy. Greek Orthodox. Affiliated with Geronda Ephraim.

                  • Fr. John W. Morris, it must have been nice to be able to recognize brother Orthodox clergy in a busy airport! And at a distance yet! What gave them away?

                    Do you think that they in turn recognized you as an Orthodox Priest?

                    • Clare Voyant says

                      I remember catching sight of a cassocked man at O’Hare airport once and chasing him down to take a blessing. And he has since BEEN a blessing to me and my family. If he was in one of those Western “clergy suits” I wouldn’t have noticed and missed out on a blessing from one of God’s annointed.

                      Clergy, for the sake of the Gospel, preach not just with words, but how you conduct yourself; including what you put on in the morning!

                    • Clare Voyant says

                      (You can erase this verison in the wrong place)

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I have to agree with Fr John here. As much as I like the fact that my priest wears a cassock 100% of the time, I don’t look down on priests from other jurisdictions who wear the Western “clergy suit.” It’s not the suit that makes the man but the man who makes the suit. Having said that, I think that fashions change and that the Holy Spirit may be causing us to realize the need for more differentiation. After all, we don’t need icon screens either, and they’re relatively new phenomenon in the Church, but I can’t imagine an Orthodox church without an icon screen.

                    • Monk James says

                      George Michalopulos says (October 4, 2012 at 9:22 am):

                      I have to agree with Fr John here. As much as I like the fact that my priest wears a cassock 100% of the time, I don’t look down on priests from other jurisdictions who wear the Western “clergy suit.” It’s not the suit that makes the man but the man who makes the suit. Having said that, I think that fashions change and that the Holy Spirit may be causing us to realize the need for more differentiation. After all, we don’t need icon screens either, and they’re relatively new phenomenon in the Church, but I can’t imagine an Orthodox church without an icon screen.

                      This isn’t about the man in the clothing. It’s about how everyone else perceives the man and the signals he gives by his clothing.

                      In thirty-five years of monastic practice, I have never had a bad experience wearing the rason in public. In fact, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive for me and helpful to the people I meet along the way, especially in nursing homes and hospitals. Still, good things happen at the gas station, the pharmacy, the grocery store, etc., etc.

                      I’m always recognized as orthodox, though sometimes mistaken for a priest, and good things almost always result from conversations with the people who speak with me.

                      A clergy shirt and a black suit will get an orthodox priest taken for a catholic or lutheran priest; if the suit’s not black, he’ll be taken for an episcopal priest. Orthodoxy isn’t even on the radar, but THAT is the sign and the witness we must give especially in our ‘postchristian’ culture.

                      We’re not to blend in and be taken for heterodox or worse, but to shine in our lives, our behavior, our words and even in our attire to be a ‘light of revelation to the nations’.

                      May the Lord help all of us sinners to be faithful to His commandments and not betray the trust His people place in us clergy and monastics.

                    • Since this blog does not allow replies to a further level there are two misstatements that should be addressed:

                      1) “It’s not the suit that makes the man but the man who makes the suit. Having said that, I think that fashions change and that the Holy Spirit may be causing us to realize the need for more differentiation. After all, we don’t need icon screens either, and they’re relatively new phenomenon in the Church, but I can’t imagine an Orthodox church without an icon screen.”

                      This is wrong on several levels and what you are expressing is a Western post Reformation mentality. If you follow it to it’s logical conclusion then all you need is four bare walls. While there is truth to this statement you are using it to justify willfully irregular behavior within the church and denying the corporate nature of our salvation within the church. If you strip away what you think is extraneous, which in this case is just your personal taste, then you are sinning against your brother.

                      2) Fr. John has made a number of statements which try to explain away pews etc… as just variations. This too is wrong on several levels. Just because you see it does not make it regional practice, in fact it’s very likely BAD practice. Take the myth that curtains were introduced by the Russians. Many people hold to this misunderstanding because the Greeks and Antiochioans and some OCA have done away with it. The same is true with the multi-tiered iconostasis. Pews are as problematic as organs because they fundamentally change the nature of how we worship. Like I’ve said before you turn the nave into an auditorium and the altar into a stage. It’s one thing to have benches along the side of the church for siting at appropriate times, it’s another to distribute them around the church in as an obstacle.

                      What is being overlooked here is the importance of being faithful to the tradition of the Church. When we are faithful to the Church we do not impose our will on her out of personal taste or modernist agenda. In essence you could look at it as we should allow ourselves to be judged by the tradition and not judge the tradition for ourselves. To do so is to essentially be an eastern right protestant.

                    • I have a sartorial suggestion for the Orthodox clergyman who whether by obedience or choice regular dons western clerical garb.


                      What better way to say, “Hello, I’m Orthodox” than to pin an icon button on the shirtfront or lapel of a plain black western clerical suit? Okay, smart alecks, I grant you that a button that says “Hello, I’m Orthodox” comes a close second.

                      What is more fundamental to our Orthodox Christian identity than an icon? Lest I be accused by the Neighborhood Fundamentalist Watch, this fashion tip came from an episode of Oprah (hardly a paragon of Orthodoxy), a segment on how to make that “little black dress” really pop with ACCESSORIES!!! Cue concerted squeals of excitement.

                      For example, an icon of the home parish’s patron Saint pinned to a plain black clerical suit would transform a humdrum occidental garment into a semi-exotic oriental one. It would at least serve notice that Orthodox Christianity abides here.

                      I picture this scenario at a busy airport:

                      An Orthodox Priest, wearing dog collar with an icon of, say, Panagia Glykophilousa pinned to his shirtfront is sitting near the gate awaiting his flight. He is approached by a family of Orthodox Christians. Dad, aka Mr. Confrontation says, “Hey you, what are you doing with Panagia Glykophilousa pinned to your shirtfront?!”

                      The Priest seeing himself surrounded by a family of zealots and probable fundamentalists allows a dramatic pause before announcing, “But of course, I am Orthodox!”

                      Mr. Confrontation and his brood allow this information to slowly sink in before breaking out into smiles of understanding. Much hand-kissing and blessing follow.

                      Now I ask you, wouldn’t it be nicer to be visible to your fellow Orthodox than to be hidden under a western dog collar?

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I cannot help but think that it is silly to get into an argument about proper attire for clergy outside of the Church. There are so many important issues to consider. Apparently, there are some Orthodox who are compromising our Faith on important moral issues. That should be our concern, not who wears a cassock in an airport. I actually prefer to travel in civies because people mistreat clergy and think that because we are clergy we have to take abuse. By the way, I never wear a dog collar. The dog collar is pretty much identified with Episcopalians and I do not want to be associated with the Episcopal Church in any way. When I go to a monastery, I always wear a cassock. When we have a mercy meal after a funeral, I always wear a cassock. I wear a rasso at the grave. I usually wear a cassock during the Coffee Hour. Sometimes, after the Liturgy, I am in a great deal of pain and simply take off my vestments limp into the hall and sit down. I am scheduled for a total knee replacement next month. I did get some rather interesting reactions when I was a deacon and took my pregnant wife to the Italian section of Boston. Although, I was in civies because I was traveling, I almost did not get an hotel room once because the man at the desk asked to see my driver’s license which has a picture of me in my clerical collar. The man wanted to know what a priest was doing sharing a motel room with a woman. I had to explain that I am Orthodox and that the Orthodox Church has married priests.
                      This is not a doctrinal issue, nor is it an issue involving the Holy Tradition of the Church. Let us worry about Orthodox Bishops and Priests who do not uphold the moral teachings of our Church instead of about who wears what outside of the Church.
                      For Monk James. I agree that a monk should wear his cassock because he is a monk. However, I am not a monk.
                      I wear jeans and a t shirt at home, but would never even consider not wearing the required vestments during a service of the Church. Even concerning vestments there are some differences. Antiochians and Greeks do not wear cuffs unless they are fully vested for the Divine Liturgy or for the Lamentations for Great and Holy Friday. We do not wear them when we do Vespers or any other service for which we wear a rasso and epitrachelion and even a philonion such as Great Vespers. Antiohcians do not wear a philionion for Daily Vespers. I understand that the Russians always wear their cuffs whenever they wear an epitrachelion. How do you do a Baptism when you are wearing cuffs?

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      If the the men wearing cassocks in the Charlotte air port were monks, they are under a different discipline than I am as a married Priest. It is a given in Orthodoxy that monks always dress as monks and always have. I dress as my Bishop tells me to dress because I am under obedience to him. It is not a doctrinal issue and has nothing to do with the Holy Tradition of the Church. It certainly is not worth an argument. My commitment to Orthodoxy is manifested by the way that I live my life, not what I wear when I am not at my Church or conducting a service.

                  • Over at orthodoxhistory.org there is a rather well documented case of a Greek Bishop encouraging pews and organs for the same reason. Funny thing is it did nothing but hurt the Church. Western Christians are bad examples to follow. Converts come not because of a short sighted attempt to make Orthodoxy look like the west, but because it is the true faith.

                    This is no longer the 19th century and we live in a post Christian society. Back then people still had a sense and a respect for church. There was also little potential for missionizing Protestants so fitting into the broader framework is understandable. Today fitting into the broader framework is the path to obscurity because the West has embraced Nihilism on a fundamental level. For example, I was listening to an NPR report yesterday regarding Wikipedia rejecting a primary source based correction to the Haymarket Riot of New York. Wikipedia’s response was esentially that the crowd determines what is truth.

                    I don’t think you give people enough credit. You will always have your troublemakers but unless we are willing to put it all on the line, even to make an uncomfortable spectacle of ourselves, then our effort will wither and die.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      There is no doubt that organs are a corruption. In Orthodoxy, we express our doctrine through our liturgical texts. An organ will distract or even overwhelm the words of the troparia. Our music is written to be sung “a’capella.” The very word a’capella means as in the chapel, because even in the West liturgical music was sung without organ accompaniment.
                      Pews are another matter, because we know from our own liturgical texts that Orthodox have sat during services since ancient times. The division of the Psalms are called Kathisma, which means sitting. We have a series of services called Akathist Hymns which means not sitting. Therefore one can assume that people sat in ancient times when the services were formulated. There are seats in St. Mary’s the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus.
                      Although it is true that the Iconostasis was a later development, there has always been some sort of barrier between the Altar and the Nave to emphasize the sacredness of the Altar, I feel that the iconostasis focuses the worship on the Holy Table rather than the clergy. Besides, if I have to blow my nose, I can step a few steps and be behind the iconstasis and blow my nose without bothering anyone. If the string that hold my sticharion around one of smy wrists or a cuff comes undone, I can go behind the iconostasis and fix the problem without distracting the Faithful.

                    • I wouldn’t look down on an Orthodox clergyman wearing a western clergy suit (shorthand: “dog collar”). I would most likely look right past him.

                      I wouldn’t know him from Adam’s off ox, as the old saying goes.

                      Around these parts, an Orthodox priest wearing a dog collar would just blend in with the similarly attired Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, the occasional Baptist and even some hipster Evangelicals.

                      Which is the whole point of wearing such attire, no?

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I have yet to read a rational explanation against seating in the Church that explains why if people did not sit in the Temple at times, do we have liturgical texts that indicate that people sat in ancient times. If no one sat in the Temple why did the Church divide the Psalms into sections called Kathisma which means sitting? If Orthodox have always stood during all services, why do we have an ancient service called the Akathiist which means non sitting Hymn? If people did not sit during the Epistle, why does the deacon tell the people to stand for the Holy Gospel? If the ancient liturgical texts of the Church in show that people sat at times, how are we guilty of ignoring the Holy Tradition of the Church if we provide some place for them to sit? If it is un-Orthodox to have seating in the Church why is there seating in the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus as well as in the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarch?

                    • “I would plead that as Orthodox Christians we shouldn’t allow ourselves to diminish the value of symbols or lose the participation of our bodies in worship. Sadly, one finds examples of such a loss. I was in US last month and enjoyed that visit very much, but was saddened to see that many Orthodox churches have been taken over by pews. Have you reflected on the horrid effect that pews have on worship? People in pews can no longer make prostrations or even make deep bows. They just stand or sit and thus become an audience instead of active participants. In a pew it is not easy to make a proper sign of the cross with a deep bow. Now you might say that this is not so important and that pews are there for convenience and that people today just can’t stand up for very long. But traditionally the Church has provided stalls and benches on the sides or a few chairs here and there. Those who need to sit can then come forward to make prostrations. But our tradition is not one of neat rows.”

                      – Metropolitan Kallistos Ware from Glorify God with your Body

                      Many years ago when His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos was asked what he thought about pews, his answer was rather more succinct:

                      “Take them out and burn them.”

                    • RE: I have yet to read a rational explanation against seating in the Church…

                      I don’t know how “rational” the following passages are, but I have always found them to be inspirational.

                      Think on these things when thine feet begin to ache:

                      Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
                      – Psalm 24:3

                      In accordance with the directions of David king of Israel and the magnificence of Solomon his son. Stand in order in the temple according to the groupings of the fathers’ houses of you Levites, who minister before your brethren the people of Israel… – 1 Esdras 1:5

                      He said to me, “Stand up like a man, and I will instruct you.” – 4 Ezra.10:33

                      The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven, a gleaming array in the heights of the Lord. At the command of the Holy One they stand as ordered, they never relax in their watches. – Sirach 43:9,10

                      And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. -Mark 11:25

                      And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
                      -Luke 18:13

                      Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. -1 Corinthians 16:13

                      Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.- 2 Thessalonians 2:15

                      Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Ephesians 6:13

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Well once the pews are out, and the organs removed and the Old Calendar re-instituted then all with be right with Orthodoxy? Right? I think not. Still getting caught up in externals.
                      I Greece I have gone to Churches and Monasteries with no pews and greatlt enjoyed it and I prefer it over pews, but pews will not destroy my faith.

                      Do you really think the removal of pews truly shows true Orthodox piety? Also, you quote 2 Thess. 2:15 that has nothing to do with the type of tradition you are trying to push, but do you know that women should wear sarfs over their head while in Church? Many women in the Church today do not do it even though it is mentioned in St. Paul’s Epistles. So what about those Women that don’t wear head scarfs are they bad and immoral? Is their Orthodoxy less than those who do wear head scarfs? Shall we start enforcing that rule? Sorry hon, no head scarf no communion for you.

                      This is just more ridiculous crap I cannot believe we are engaging in. or even discussing as Orthodox Christians. Our faith is not and never has been attached to externals. I guess this BS is just something some people need.

                      Metropolitan Jonah actually wrote an acticle about a guy named Bill now called “Vasili” that I would urge many to re-read as it puts this whole conversation in its proper perspective.


          • Dear Father John,

            I, too, have been scandalized by what I have read on this blog. Often, it is hearsay, innuendo, and something suggestive of substance but a lot of what I have read on this blog is innuendo. Until and unless someone makes an accusation, clearly, or questions in public, clearly, there can be no spiritual court. And until then, we can see Metropolitan’s literally falling down drunk on the floor in company and yet only hear of them “liking the vine”, or hear about a Metropolitan Council member, well paid and powerful, attempting to be the moral compass of an entire jurisdiction while his family remembers to include his “partner” as almost a family member in an obituary.

            We have to be brave enough to speak. And yet even our priests (or their wives) urge us to keep silence and pretend everything is ok. I have a couple strong indications that no one willing to be brave and speak is even going to be allowed to represent us laity at the AAC in Parma.

            Even when people are brave enough to speak, they are being silenced. Go to the Orthodox Christian Laity website and try to find Joel Kalvesmaki’s brave statement. It has vanished. Disappeared. Poof! No voice. Where is Bp. Tikhon?

            Try this! : http://ocl.org/did-the-oca-bishops-lie-about-metropolitan-jonah/


          • Roboacolyte says

            Are you a homosexual?Thou dost protest a little too much.

            • Man! No one has a sharper tongue than I do, but cool it bro. “are you a homosexual” how original. I’d drive them all out of the Church, but then where do we stop? Who or what sin is next, I don’t want them in the clergy and I want THEM OUT, but no one died and left me in charge….. yet 😉


      • Fr. John, you are making a perfectly good point here. I’m sorry others distracted by your repetition (usually a sign someone is not feeling heard, folks!) are unable to see that. The dogmatic truth and moral core of our faith, which apparently IS being seriously compromised in the highest places within the OCA, is more important than the strictness or relaxedness with which the outer forms (dress and so forth) are observed and over which Bishops have authority given them by the Church! Beware the wickedness and deceit that uses “proper form” to cover up rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ–even satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          What do you mean by my reputation? I have given my life to the service of the Orthodox Church. I have steadfastly defended the teachings of our Church on every subject. I somehow stumbled on this site and have been horrified by what I have read about the immorality of some Orthodox clergy, including Bishops.

        • Roboacolyte says

          Go back to the Protestant Church.You’ll be happy there.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Sincere Orthodox Christians can differ on matters of administration, and on interpretation of canon law. I believe that it is very dangerous for someone to try to interpret the canons if they have not had the education necessary to understand the basic principles of Orthodox canon law. I find it extraordinary when someone who has not had a proper course in Orthodox canon law at an Orthodox seminary makes pronouncements on the canons. Without proper training, it is not spiritually healthy for a person to read the Rudder and then try to interpret the canons for themselves. It can be very easy for a person to become too legalistic about the canons. Excessive legalism is not Orthodox.
          Someone from a different jurisdiction has every right to disagree and prefer the administrative practices of their own jurisdiction. I frankly do not believe that it is my place as a Priest to criticize the way that our Antiochian Bishops decide to administer the Archdiocese and differentiate between the authority of the Metropolitan, and the authority of the Bishops of the Dioceses. I have no doubt that the rules that so many of you find offensive were discussed and approved by our local Synod of Bishops. Sincere Orthodox Christians can disagree on issues of organization and administration, but we must be one in what is really important. We must not tolerate any deviation from the teachings of our Church on moral or doctrinal issues. To quote something that Metropolitan Philip once told me “I am dogmatic about the dogma of the Church.” If only part of what I read on this blog is true, some Orthodox are guilty of serious violations of the moral teachings of our Holy Church. Defending the moral teachings of the Church is is what is important, not relatively minor differences over administrative matters.

        • Karen says: The dogmatic truth and moral core of our faith, which apparently IS being seriously compromised in the highest places within the OCA, is more important than the strictness or relaxedness with which the outer forms (dress and so forth) are observed and over which Bishops have authority given them by the Church! Beware the wickedness and deceit that uses “proper form” to cover up rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ–even satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Beware the wickedness and deceit that uses “proper form” to cover up rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ–even satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

          Yet more often the adversary will just let it all hang it out, so to speak. Heterodoxy that is manifested by its improper forms is much more common than Orthodoxy expressed by the “relaxedness” of its “proper” forms.

          Be aware that in the Orthodox Church, form follows function.

        • Karen says: The dogmatic truth and moral core of our faith, which apparently IS being seriously compromised in the highest places within the OCA, is more important than the strictness or relaxedness with which the outer forms (dress and so forth) are observed and over which Bishops have authority given them by the Church! Beware the wickedness and deceit that uses “proper form” to cover up rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ–even satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

          But much more often the devil just let’s it all hang out so to speak. Heterodoxy, the consequence of compromising our Orthodox Faith, is usually expressed through what she calls the “relaxedness” of the “outer forms.” It’s a case of form following function, or rather deformation following dysfunction.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Ioann says: “But much more often the devil just let’s it all hang out so to speak. Heterodoxy, the consequence of compromising our Orthodox Faith, is usually expressed through what she calls the “relaxedness” of the “outer forms.” It’s a case of form following function, or rather deformation following dysfunction.”

            Really? I actually though and was taught that it was the internal that was most important, especially in our prayer lives as Orthodox Christians.

            Prayer is the most sublime experience of the human soul, and worship is the most profound activity of the people of God. “There is no life without prayer. Without prayer there is only madness and horror. The soul of Orthodoxy consists in the gift of prayer.”
            (Vasili Razonov)

            No mention of pews.

            Finally, this is a wonderful article on prayer being the essence of our Orthodox: Liveshttp://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8157. It has nothing to do with pews.

            So while you and others worry about pews and organs and other externals in Church, I would tell you to worry the most about the internals and the Eternal. Remember Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27. Pews, Organs, Cassocks, long prayer ropes, etc., are all meaningless compared to sincere prayer to Christ, true devotion to Our Lord and His Gospel and uncompromising love and care for the orphans, widows and the afflicted of our world.

            This is what we should be worried about NOT pews.

            Peter A. Papoutsis

      • Michael (James) Kinsey says

        This is speculation, but it is logical. The real area of contention between the Met Jonah and the Synod is directly concerned with the homosexual agenda. The gay agenda is to remake authentic Christianity into a belief system that favors the acceptance of their life style, but it would also destroy the souls that go along with it, I assume there may be gay cleric’s in the synod protecting there position, or Met Jonah favored the acceptance of gay cleric. It is one or the other.

    • Fr. Philip says

      Dear Catherine,

      At (if I recall correctly) the 10th All-American Council, the OCA issued what seems to me a clear statement on homosexuality, both with respect to orientation and with respect to practice. It can be found on the OCA website, and I commend it to your attention.

      Canonically, the Church treats homosexual genital expression as sin, and prescribes the exact same epitimia for this sin as for heterosexual fornication and adultery (cf., e.g., Canon 62 of St. Basil the Great). Thus, even a brief glance at The Rudder makes clear that there can be no doubt about the teaching of the entire Orthodox Christian Church on this matter or on the matter of heterosexual sin. And given Article I of The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, any further statement would seem to me to be redundant.

      Concerning Archbishop Seraphim, the OCA is holding off on its investigation and/or spiritual court until the secular trial has taken place, so as to avoid even the appearance of interfering in and/or in any way tainting the accused’s right to the presumption of innocence and to a fair trial. I believe the case is to be heard in April. My question is: what will the OCA do if the secular court’s verdict is “Not Guilty”?

      • But Father, there is tremendous, ahem, doubt about what the current cadre of OCA bishops and high profile priests actually do — publically, privately, and personally. And therein lies the rub.

        Time to call ’em out. Each of them, by name, with conclusive evidence. Not just in the OCA, but everywhere — among the Greeks, Serbs, Antiochians, Russians, Martians, and anywhere else they may be hiding behind mantije and cassocks.

        Enough of this “we’re struggling with passions” crud as an excuse, apology, explanation, rationalization, justification, and obfuscation. Go struggle someplace other than at the highest leadership positions of Christ’s Church. I’m not saying the Church can’t or should not help, pastor, counsel and confess any who sin, including those afflicted with this or anything else.

        But don’t put — or let — ’em be in charge.

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          We are all struggling with passions, but have to control them. I confess that I found it extremely difficult to keep my mind on spiritual matters hen I went outside of the hotel to the beech to see the ocean during our Parish Life Conference and found myself surrounded by practically naked women. I suspect that were I 18 and not married that the temptation would be much greater than it is for a 64 year old man who is married. The point is that we are all tempted in one way or another, but must obey Christ and follow the moral teachings that the Holy Spirit has led the authors of the Holy Scriptures and the Church to teach. If any person engages in sexual sin, hetero or homo, they may not receive Holy Communion until they have repented and have been to Confession., If it becomes a repeated sin, that person should be placed under penance for a period of time. However, we hold clergy to a higher standard. If a member of the clergy commits a sexual sin, he should be suspended. If the leadership of the Church knows that a member of the clergy is committing sexual sins and ignores it, the leadership of the Church is compromised by ignoring serious sin.

          • If a member of the clergy commits a sexual sin, he should be suspended. If the leadership of the Church knows that a member of the clergy is committing sexual sins and ignores it, the leadership of the Church is compromised by ignoring serious sin.

            Fr. John Morris, Would the leadership of an Orthodox jurisdiction be guilty of ignoring serious sin and therefore compromised if it temporarily suspended said member of the clergy who was, just for the sake of argument, a bishop who was found guilty of committing the very type of sin that you mentioned, and then later reinstated this former-clergyman as a bishop?

          • RE: If a member of the clergy commits a sexual sin, he should be suspended. If the leadership of the Church knows that a member of the clergy is committing sexual sins and ignores it, the leadership of the Church is compromised by ignoring serious sin.

            Fr. John Morris, Would the leadership of the Church be ignoring sin and therefore compromised if it only temporarily suspended said “member of the clergy” for committing the sin that you mentioned and then later reinstated him to his former position?

            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              Suspended? Merely suspended? For running off and marrying another man, and then forsaking that man and returning to live with yet another man? Such a clergyman should be DEPOSED and never again allowed to enter the altar of our Lord, for he can never again be trusted with sacred things!

              But such a clergyman is today neither deposed nor suspended but retains the honor of archdeacon. And what else should we expect when the Dalai Lama of Sunday-school teachers blesses gay marriage by communion?

              • The question the laity in the OCA should be asking is how is it that writing a letter questioning the bishops about forcing the retirement of a metropolitan get’s you disqualified from the AAC, but advocating for homosexuality does not.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I agree. By the way I just read your article(s) on David Dunn and his “Pro-Gay” stance as an Orthodox Christian. Very good, even great response. My only thing is why are you the only one saying this? Where are the other Orthodox Clergymen and Theologians that should be “Correcting” this man and exposing his modernist heresy?

                  In any event you should and must be commended for your efforts in this regard. Good job and keep up the good and noble work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Do you really think that the Huffington Post would publish an article written by someone who is pro-gay rights? Try writing a response to an article like the one by David Dunn. I did and was attacked unmercifully by gay activists. I tried private correspondence with Dunn. Suffice it to say, he was less than receptive when I tried to explain to him that an Orthodox theologian does not do speculative theology like a Protestant, but faithfully expresses the Holy Tradition of the Church. Dunn has no training in Orthodox theology. Never attended an Orthodox seminary and is completely unqualified to express the teachings of the Orthodox Church.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I made a mistake. The first sentence should read, “Do you really think that the Huffington Post would publish an article written by someone who is NOT pro-gay rights?”

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      I agree father, but there are so many Orthodox Priests and Theologians that can post responses the lack of “corrective” responses is what was troubling. I know that few have attempted, but wether its David Dunn or Michael Huffington the Church in whole should have said something. I understand you did, but you should not have been alone. I apologize if I intimated otherwise.


              • Harry Coin says

                I wouldn’t have believed this a few months ago. But then I read those articles on Pokrov from a woman saying her priest husband was having gay affairs, and it just went on, and on even after it was known. Creating more victims, and so on. And the same time when a bishop sends text messages — Suspended in a heartbeat. How can both these things be true?

                • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                  But did the bishop really send those text messages?If J.Edgar Hoover could attempt to frame Martin Luther King 50 years ago,who is to say that Bishop Mathias couldn’t be framed with modern technology?

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Spoofing is quite easy these days with apps downloadable on the internet. Or so I’m told.

                  • Fr. Andrei, Michael, per the statement on the OCA website, Bishop Matthias admitted sending the texts, but claimed they were somehow taken out of context.

                    From what was reported of the texts here, the only missing context I can see vindicating Bishop Matthias is, “…and that’s just what a creep would say. Fortunately, I would never say such a thing to you.”

                    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                      And you believe the OCA website because?

                    • Fr. Andrei, I believe that statement from the OCA website, because I doubt that they would implicate Bishop Matthias in sending the texts unless it were true.

              • Daniel E. Fall says

                To suggest Fr. Hopko blesses gay marriage by communion is a lie.

                And furthermore, Communion is always capitalized by Christians.

                What does that make you?

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Anytime you commune someone you know to be living immorally, who knows you know that he is living immorally, you bless that person to continue living immorally, telling him that his immorality does not separate him from the Body and Blood of Christ. Fr. Thomas Hopko does in fact advise that that is sometimes the thing to do. You can listen to his words yourself on Ancient Faith Radio, toward the end of his 2011 lecture on “Spiritual Practice,” which you can easily find by going here and clicking on the link “lectures.” The relevant comments start at about the 45 minute mark. At about the 1 hour mark, Fr. Thomas says, “until they become really offensive and, and proactive I think even, they should be able to remain in Holy Communion, because, because however else are they going to be able to continue.”

                  • “until they become really offensive and, and proactive I think even, they should be able to remain in Holy Communion, because, because however else are they going to be able to continue.”

                    How? By repenting?

                    I can’t believe he actually said this!

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    You cannot offend people unnecessarily. The other thing you cannot do is chase away members of the Orthodox Churches and their families who are struggling with same-sex attraction. You’ve got to meet them, you’ve got to talk with them, you’ve got to spend time with them, you’ve got to go over it with them. And until they become really offensive and proactive, I think they should even be able to remain in Holy Communion. How ever else are they going to be able to continue? But then, their part of the deal has to be, their open, they’re repenting, they’re quiet. And here, I think, we must trust their priest. If the priest is in the parish, and he is dealing with someone, and other people think that person is lesbian or gay or has a partner, or whatever, my own opinion is it shouldn’t be any of their business. If there is a problem, they should go to the priest: “Are you aiding & abetting same-sex lifstyles?” There is a conversation that can go on, definately, but my conviction of how personal it is, how difficult, how complicated, you’ve just got to honor that.

                    This why Fr. Thomas Hopko is respected as an Orthodox Theologian & Pastor around the world, and you… well, are not.

                    • Well, maybe I am a simpleton, but if a couple is in an active sexual relationship, homosexual or heterosexual, OUTSIDE of marriage they should not be Communing.

                      Most times, it is obvious to all, who is in partnership, and indeed it does damage and scandalizes the faithful, as well as calling attention to a priest(or bishop) who has bent the church to conform to his weaknesses.

                      Several times I have seen heterosexual couples (unmarried) want to come into the church and they were told to live apart and spend more time in study and prayer before entering the church.
                      Also, couples who have fallen into sin have been asked to refrain from communing until they got their heads on straight again.

                      It seems unlikely that the church(Or Father Hopko) can really endorse couples who approach the cup almost holding hands while openly living together and still remain Orthodox.

                      P.S. He doesn’t seem so very respected to me. A great education, a bunch of books, and a loud mouth doesn’t necessarily command respect.

                    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                      Well,Mr.S.,nobody cut me a break when I was struggling with HETEROSEXUAL desires after the death of my wife more than six years ago.And you know what? I’m glad they didn’t.I’m glad that some fellow priests and some lay people were frank with me,even though at the time I didn’t want to hear it.I still struggle with the desire for a woman(as I write these lines,I can spot a number of attractive women here in the library),BUT at age 60,I don’t feel the urges I might have felt 20 or even 10 years ago.
                      I came to the conclusion that I will remain a priest,at least for as long as God allows me in my unworthyness.I agree that priests must show pastoral care in ministering to ALL people in their afflictions.At least the heterosexual Orthodox man or woman who is “shacking up” has the option to marry.Most of the issues I dealt with along these lines came from Orthodox men and women who wanted to marry non-Christians(usually Jews,but in one case,a Hindu) WITHOUT the conversion of the prospective spouse.
                      Oddly enough,one young Orthodox male who berated me for wanting to leave the priesthood to remarry(and rightly so) now APPEARS to be shacking up with a woman himself.Indeed,we all must beware of pointing the finger.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      What’s the bottom line of this passage quoted by Michael Stankovich?

                      If there’s a problem, they might go to the priest, say, “Are you aiding and abetting same-sex lifestyles?” or whatever. There is a conversation that can go on, definitely, definitely, but my conviction of how personal it is, how difficult, how complicated, you just got to honor that. You have to honor it.

                      So the bottom line is not that people in gay marriages should not be communed, but that the priest alone decides who to commune and nobody has any business second-guessing him. That’s all Fr. Thomas has the courage to say. And he says it in October 2011 — after the blow-up at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, DC, where people did have the “conversation” with their clergy about “aiding and abetting same-sex lifestyles” and were told to mind their own business.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      What he is saying is that a “pastor,” knowing the individual(s) before him, must make decisions, personally, taking responsibility before God, in what he believes is in the best interest of the salvation of a member of his flock. When does a pastor tell them enough? When does a pastor cut them off from the saving grace of the Mysteries of the Church? I believe this is wisdom, this is the “Grace Divine” of his ordination, and this is fundamental intimacy of the relationship between a spiritual father and his spiritual son or daughter. Who would presume to enter into this intimacy or who would presume to demand the “details?”

                      I again point out Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky)’s lectures to confessors, reminding them of the spiritual frailty of our times – “far removed from the time of Grace” – and while he certainly was not suggesting “rolling over,” he recalls that the Lord was harsh with “those who could bear it.”

                      I think it should be noted, that by “quoting” Fr. Hopko so grossly out of context, then linking you to his site to “hear it yourself,” and not the Ancient Faith Network, the source of the original talk, Dn. Mitchell attempts to derive an undeserved “authority” off the back of Fr. Hopko who has actually earned it. A cheap convention, to say the least.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Michael, your idea of a pastor sounds more like a psycho-therapist than a shepherd or a father. That’s part of what’s wrong with Hopko’s approach to homosexuality, which is more clinical than pastoral. He see himself as a psycho-therapist whose main concern as keeping his patients in therapy, thus the need to not judge, to not offend, to listen endlessly, and to put up with anything so long as the patients keep their appointments and pay their bills.

                      A pastor has more responsibilities. He must look out for the whole flock, which means setting standards, maintaining accountability, disciplining the wayward, and chasing away the wolves. In fulfilling those responsibilities, a pastor must view people not just as patients, but as moral actors with the ability to choose between good and evil. His job is to make that choice as clear and as meaningful as possible, ultimately a choice of life or death, Christ or hell. He can’t do that by communing everyone, regardless of how they live their lives and how much trouble they cause others.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      I would rather you did not impose your confusion onto me.

                    • Stankovich is the one who is confused, not Dn. Patrick Mitchell.
                      The truths in the Holy Gospel and Epistles are what saves, not psycho-therapy.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I think that you should treat homosexual sin like any sexual sin. If an 19 year old guy confessed having sex with his girl friend, I might let him take communion if he was truly repentant and promised not to have intimate relations with her again. However, if he comes back a few weeks later and confesses the same sin, I would put him under penance and not allow him to take Communion for a time. If he fulfills the penance and then comes back to confession and confesses the same sin, I would put him under penance for a longer period of time. If he were an altar server I would not let him serve while he is under penance. If he moved in with his girl friend, I would not allow him to serve or received the Eucharist until he repented and moved out, recognized his sin and promised to cease having sex out of wedlock. I would treat a girl the same way. I would also treat a gay or lesbian person the same way. If a person confessed a sexual sin and refused to promise not continue committing the same sin, I would deny them Communion until they repented and promised to avoid any act of sexual immorality.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      I’m struck by the contrast between Fr. John Morris’s straightforward, impossible-to-misunderstand statement of what he would do, here, and Fr. Thomas Hopko’s mealymouthed, equivocating statement of what he would do, in the passage quoted above by Michael Stankovich. For Fr. John, repentance means real repentance — forsaking sin by turning away from it so as to follow Christ. For Fr. Thomas, “repenting” seems to mean merely “struggling” with sin, while withholding communion is assumed to “chase away” Church members.

                    • I’m struck by the contrast between Fr. John Morris’s straightforward, impossible-to-misunderstand statement of what he would do in the OCA and his equivocation about what he has been done within his own jurisdiction to reinstate a convicted sex offender to the office of Bishop.

                      He claims that this Bishop is in quiet retirement, but the Bishop’s blog (with a picture of him in full regalia) says something different. The sad thing is when you google this reinstated bishop’s name, this blog is not among the first documents to come up. First up is a current sex offender registry record complete with mug shot, then Pokrov’s file on said bishop…well you get the picture.

                      It is strange that Fr. John Morris feels comfortable laying about here with his cudgel of high dudgeon against the follies of the OCA, but is equally comfortable defending the undefendable within his own jurisdiction.

                      That he has a working relationship with the bishop (according to the bishop’s blog) may explain it, but it doesn’t excuse it.

                • Daniel, you didn’t capitalize “communion” in your first paragraph, just before claiming that this word is always capitalized by Christians. What does that make you? A hypocrite, I guess.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    To Ioann Above:
                    Forgive me, but your post about me has made me very upset.
                    I am deeply offended by your criticism of me because I work with Bishop Demetri on translations of liturgical texts into English. His Grace has an illness. He is an alcoholic. He acknowledges it and has been treated for it and does not drink. He attends AA meetings, and has been sober for several years. The incident was a result of the alcoholism not immorality. Anyway, he was accused of brushing against a woman, not having sex with her. Lots of people have various illnesses. That is not their fault. I am hypoglycemic and cannot go without eating before I serve the Divine Liturgy. I did it once a few months ago and after the Gospel became weak and broke out with a cold sweat. I eventually lost my voice. My condition is so bad that I was hospitalized a few months ago because of a severe hypoglycemic attack. It is not a moral failure that my condition makes it impossible for me to fast before the Divine Liturgy. Today is Friday, but I had a terrible hypoglycemic attack this morning and finally ate an hamburger for lunch because my endocrinologist told me to eat meat when I get a really bad attack. Meat is the only thing that helps bring my blood sugar back to normal. Bishop Demetri has a chemical imbalance that causes alcoholism. He knows it and has it under control. Leave him alone. It is not a moral failure that he has a disease like alcoholism.
                    Bishop Demetri is a good and pious man who loves Christ and His Church. He is not a homosexual or involved in an immoral relationship with a woman. He lives in quiet retirement in a modest house in Miami and does not serve. He also does great service to the Church through his work translating liturgical texts. Together, we have produced the first complete translation of the Typikon in English and have posted it so that it can be downloaded from the internet. He has completed the book of Old Testament readings and has also posted it so that it can be downloaded. I believe that the OCA has another retired Bishop in Miami who really committed an immoral offense and who is reported to continue to live in an immoral homosexual relationship. Does he do anything to serve the Church like Bishop Demetri with his translations? I expressed my feelings that he should be reinstated, but have no power or authority to do anything about it, thus the accusation that I have done anything to have him reinstated is false. It is true that I work with him and consider it an honor to be his friend. As Christians, we should have sympathy for anyone afflicted with a disease.
                    St. Matthew 7: 1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
                    If even 10% of the material posted on this blog under the title, “Sons of Job call for new leadership in the OCA,” is true, the OCA has a huge log in its eye. if I were OCA, I would not presume to judge the Bishops of any other jurisdiction. You people have enough troubles of your own to keep you too busy cleaning up your own mess to judge the Antiochians or any other Orthodox jurisdiction or its Bishops.
                    I just hope and pray that the secular press does not find out about what is going on in the OCA and that nothing happens in Parma that would make all Orthodox in this country look bad if it is reported in the secular press.

                    • Fr. John Morris,

                      Please forgive me, Father for offending you, but I reacted out of pain in heart.

                      You said, “The incident was a result of the alcoholism not immorality.”

                      “The devil-in-a-bottle made me do it” excuse is just as false as “the devil made me do it” one. As all of us recovering sinners know, taking responsibility for our sins is the first step towards repenting of them.

                      If I went to you for confession, prefacing each of my sins with, “I was drunk when I did…” you wouldn’t say I was not guilty of these sins, but only diseased with alcohol would you? What if I told you that I read your Monomakhos posts defending the Bishop and they seemed like good excuses for my own very similar sins, i.e. I got drunk in a casino and groped a woman?

                      St. Paul wrote that one of the qualifications of a Bishop is that he should be “not given to [much] wine.”

                      To you, sexual assault seems to be beside the point of the transgression though it shouldn’t be.

                      I remember well the day of the incident. It happened on a Wednesday. I remember that the news reported that sexual assault occurred in a casino of all places and that the Bishop was drunk.

                      This thought came to me, “Wasn’t that a fasting day?” I mean Wednesday is a fasting day, right?

                      St. Basil the Great wrote: “Fasting was ordained in Paradise. The first injunction was delivered to Adam, ‘Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.’ ‘You shall not eat’ is a law of fasting and abstinence. The general argument is rather against excess than in support of ceremonial abstinence. In Paradise there was no wine, no butchery of beasts, no eating of flesh. Wine came in after the flood. Noah became drunk because wine was new to him. So fasting is older than drunkenness.”

                      Is it not true that one sin lead to another? Breaking the fast, drunkeness, sexual assault. Lord, have mercy on us.

                      Anyway, the Bishop pleaded guilty when confronted with the security tape evidence of his transgression which you minimize as mere “brushing.” In other words, he wasn’t just “accused” of this offence. He was convicted in court. He is a convicted sex offender in one State. He is currently a registered sex offender in another.

                      You wrote: “You people have enough troubles of your own to keep you too busy cleaning up your own mess to judge the Antiochians or any other Orthodox jurisdiction or its Bishops.”

                      “You people?”

                      The Orthodox Church is more like “We the people” don’t you think? We are in communion with one another?

                      I don’t have to be in the OCA to be offended, scandalized and disheartened. The scandal of a convicted sex offender-Bishop is an open wound in the Church as a whole and weakens the Body of Christ.

                      I am not in the OCA, but the pain of the betrayal of the Bishops anywhere in the Church does not merely brush, but reaches deep into this old Russian Orthodox heart of mine.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Fr. John, I would say that sometimes the Lord sends us these thorns in the flesh for our own salvation, and the salvation of others.

                      There is a story about a 19th century Russian priest (whose name I forget) who was cruelly afflicted with alcoholism. His bishop and the priest tried everything but the priest could never conquer the problem. However, he prayed earnestly and deeply for others especially other alcholhics. Eventually his problem became so bad that the bishop felt he had no choice but to suspend the priest and did so. That night the bishiop was visited by the Theotokos and was shown the positive, salvific effect of all of the man’s priestly prayers had had on many souls. The bishop reinstated the priest even though he never conquered his thorn. However such economia is rare and it is far more likely that whatever thorn we have are for the good of our own souls and help direct us in the path of our salvation if we face them.

                      I would suggest that Bp Demetri and the Church are blessed by his work now rather than in the active episcopate.

                    • To be a translator of liturgical texts may require proficiency in ancient languages and theology, but it does not require a bishopric.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      Bishop Demetri no longer functions as a Bishop, he does not have a diocese and does not serve, so what is your problem? If someone came to me and confessed a sin committed while drunk, I would try to help them deal with their drinking problem. There is no doubt that a person under the influence of alcohol lacks judgment and does things that they would not do if they were sober. It is necessary to treat the real problem which is alcoholism in this case. He has been treated and is doing a great service to the Church by translating liturgical texts into English.
                      If what I read on this site is true, the OCA has a retired Bishop in Miami who lives in an immoral relationship with a deacon. Why is he still a Bishop? Why is the deacon allowed to serve after he “married” another man? That is a far greater offense than an alcoholic Bishop who recognizes his problem, has dealt with it, but has paid the terrible price of being removed from his diocese and not being allowed to serve as a Bishop. At least Bishop Demetri is still serving the Church through his liturgical work.
                      You were offended by my use of the phrase, “you people.” If we are one Church, the problems of the OCA are our problems, but I lack the power to help the OCA except to tell you as a brother Orthodox Christian that the clergy and people of the OCA need to do something radical to reform the OCA and eliminate whatever is causing all the scandals. Now you have a scandal involving St. Tikhon’s. Fr. Atty has been a good friend for over 30 years. I know him well enough to know that he is right and that a great injustice has been done that should shame those who are responsible.

                    • I do NOT believe in blaming the victims of sexual crimes; nevertheless, I think some questions relative to the case of Bishop Demetri might be asked about his “victim.” Basically, Bishop Demetri made a drunken pass at a woman drinking alone at a bar.
                      What exactly the pass was is not clear. I believe some reported it was an attempt to fondle her bosom, although others say there was no “attempt” to do anything, but that Bishop Demetri “merely” brushed against her inappropriately.
                      I believe that very few women who were not regular bar habitues would venture to take a seat at a bar alone. I believe that after, say, a year of occasionally sitting at a bar alone, a woman who would NOT have had at least one pass made at her would be a rarity indeed..
                      I became Orthodox at age 28 and in the service. I wasnt ordained until over ten years later. by that time, I had been in quite a few bars. I enjoyed going out for drinks with friends. Perhaps we were all sexists, but I can’t imagine going into a bar and seeing a wman alone seated at the bar without assuming she was looking for company. In my experience, women AND men who don’t want to socialize do not go to a bar alone.
                      Did Bishop Demetri’s”victim” have issues with religion and/or the Orthodox Church?
                      Did she slap him in the face? What made her call the police, rather than ask the bartender to throw the guy out? And so on…. If a guy was sitting alone at a bar and someone like Bishop Demetri or another unattached man sat next to him and made a pass, would the guy call the POLICE?
                      I do not approve of Bishop Demetri’s conduct there, but I think he got a really bum deal.
                      Of course, if we can’t name and blame over and over again, what’s the good of proclaiming our Orthodoxy?
                      Does that woman still frequent bars at casinos? Has she got any other criminals like she got Bishop Demetri?
                      By the way, why do the “Sone of Job” apparently believe that ever-memorable Archbishop Job’s life in the episcopate was free of pathologies and gross improprieties? Anybody?

                    • Clergy rank is as much to do with appearances projected among the faithful and not just whether the clergyman made some mistake.

                      Why is it that priests can be ‘laicized’ for all sorts of things, and often are, while bishops are merely retired unless they do something completely horrific and grotesquely criminal?

                      What’s that about, anyway?

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              No, if a member of the clergy commits a sexual sin, he should be laicized. He certainly should not be reinstated so that he can go back to his old lover after he ran away to California and “married” another man.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I should have written laicized instead of suspended. There is no place for sexual immorality among Orthodox clergy.

              • Fr. John Morris, when you say “Orthodox clergy,” do you mean to apply that to bishops even one from the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese?

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  I know where you are going with this. If a person has a disease like alcoholism, that it the problem. Brushing against a woman while drunk is not the same as having sex with her. The Bishop in question does not serve, but lives a quiet life in retirement. He recognizes his problem and has it under control. If it were up to me, he would be reinstated since he has been treated and is not drinking. His situation is not comparable to a clergyman who is involved in continued immorality such as a Metropolitan who cruses gay bars in New York, has a girl friend or a boy friend on the side or or has porn on his computer.

                  • And what do you think of Bishops who support this? Check out Bishop Benjamin’s view of the church in the first Blog response here.
                    Just wanted your view.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      If the information on that web site is true, it is shocking. First of all no amount of surgery of medications can make a man a woman until they can change his chromosomes from XY to XX and make it possible for him to have a baby, he is really only a castrated man. The Fathers teach that it is a sin to deform our bodies. Canon 1 of the 1st Ecumenical Council forbids the ordination of a man who castrated himself (obviously a reference to Origen). Canon 24 of the Holy Apostles excommunicates a man who castrated himself for 3 years.
                      Just because our secular society has rejected Christian morality, it does not mean that Christ’s Holy Church should. Instead, we are called to proclaim the truth of our Faith and its moral teachings to a sinful society.
                      I cannot understand how a very small minority can force its will on our whole society. The pro-gay community has established a reign of terror in our academic institutions and in the media. They attack anyone who does not accept their demands. If a scientists does studies that contradict their pro-gay doctrine, he or she risks their entire career. If a person defends traditional Christian morality he or she is subjected to intense harassment. If they are an entertainer or public official, they endanger their professional lives.

                    • woooaa. This needs to be posted front and center . . . .

                    • Is this what xenia is referring to ?


                      Search for the Bioethics section.

                      Sometimes perverted human sexuality is manifested in the form of the painful feeling of one’s belonging to the opposite sex, resulting in an attempt to change one’s sex (transsexuality). One’s desire to refuse the sex that has been given him or her by the Creator can have pernicious consequences for one’s further development. «The change of sex» through hormonal impact and surgical operation has led in many cases not to the solution of psychological problems, but to their aggravation, causing a deep inner crisis. The Church cannot approve of such a «rebellion against the Creator» and recognise as valid the artificially changed sexual affiliation. If «a change of sex» happened in a person before his or her Baptism, he or she can be admitted to this Sacrament as any other sinner, but the Church will baptise him or her as belonging to his or her sex by birth. The ordination of such a person and his or her marriage in church are inadmissible.

                      Transsexuality should be distinguished from the wrong identification of the sex in one’s infancy as a result of doctors’ mistake caused by a pathological development of sexual characteristics. The surgical correction in this case is not a change of sex.

                    • I’m just curious what Mets. Philip, Hilarion and the MP would think of this? Are they aware?

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Is this true or just mis-quoting?

                    an unrepentant transsexual delusion despite the position of Moscow Patriarchate’s 2005 Encyclical on receiving
                    homosexuals and transgenders into the Orthodox Church.

                    Can anyone shed any light on this?

                    Wow! This stuff is unreal! In the Orthodox Church? Now you know why we cannot bend and break like the Anglicans/Episcopalians or allow modernism in like in the RCC.

                    We must remain vigilant.


                    • If we want to effect any changes in the OCA, it is important that we focus on any heresies that the current OCA Synod are permitting and/or teaching. Gossip, allegations of sexual misconduct, and suggestions of administrative blunders are mere distractors. Heresy is the RED FLAG WORD. Cries of “HETERODOX” and “ANAXIOS” might better serve as a rallying point.

                      Orthodox = Right Worship and Correct Beliefs.

                      Incorrect Worship and Heretical Beliefs

                      The OCA Synod has exposed their Christological heresy by choosing to use ecumenist and modernist inclusive language in the four mandated prayer petitions for the election of a new Metropolitan. In the link provided below, notice that the “He/His” pronouns have been deleted from the original prayer petitions that were previously used in the weeks prior to the All-American Councils.


                      These heretical prayer petitions have been inserted into the Divine Liturgy, thus perverting the Divine Liturgy. Heretical inclusive language is already being used during the Divine Liturgy itself in certain OCA parishes. In some Episcopalian Churches and in the RCC Call to Action, the Lord’s Prayer has been changed to read: “Our Mother Goddess who art in Heaven” … Thus, use of inclusive language is not only a heresy, but also it is a slippery slope into blasphemy.

                      What other strange and novel doctrines are the OCA priests, hieromonks, and bishops openly proclaiming? Is there anything on the OCA website that we can use to prove that they are now heterodox?

                    • Thank you Colette,
                      This should clear up the question of” unrepentant sexual delusion”. it is clear the church will take you if you are willing return as much as is possible to who you are at birth. That means re-claiming the sexuality you are born into.. Not taking drugs, to prolong the delusion, being baptised under your birth name. Presumably, taking a baptismal name that recognizes the same gender as the creator gave you at birth. Then there is the whole nightmare of marriage vows. That is repentance, confusing, difficult, obedient.

                  • Father John Morris asked: “Bishop Demetri no longer functions as a Bishop, he does not have a diocese and does not serve, so what is your problem?”

                    The Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church says of a Bishop:

                    ” Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:7)

                    With this warning, I’d say it is less my problem and more of his. He is in danger.

                    If you haven’t realized it yet (Because of a lack of objectivity?), his testimony to the “outside” is: Convicted sex offender in one State. Registered sex offender in another State.

                    Now let me ask your question to you: “So what is your problem?”

                    You’ve railed against certain OCA hierarchs and clergy on this blog, none of whom have been convicted in a court of law, none of whom are registered sex offenders as is this bishop that you have defended.

                    You’ve jumped into this fray urging the leadership of the OCA to laicize those whom you have judged to be malefactors, yet you beg mercy for a convicted sex offender bishop in your own jurisdiction.

                    So from atop my own high horse, I proclaim imperiously (quoting King Henry V):

                    “The mercy that was quick in us but late,
                    By your own counsel is suppress’d and kill’d:
                    You must not dare, for shame, to talk of mercy;
                    For your own reasons turn into your bosoms,
                    As dogs upon their masters, worrying you.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      To all: it seems to me that there are more than a few bishops in all the jurisdictions who are not blameless “to those outside.” This is the real problem and we must all fess up to it, not engage in tiresome jurisdictional games.

                      Rather than keep a tally of which jurisdiction has more blameworthy bishops, I think it is high time that we the people seize control of the episcopal election process and wrest it from overseas patriarchates as well as corrupt local apparatchiks (read: Syosset) who purposely seek out compromised men.


                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      Yes, I believe that if a Bishop or a Priest is involved in an immoral sexual relationship, he should be laiczed. According to this blog the OCA had a Metropolitan for many years that everyone knew was an active homosexual and did nothing until it cost them some money. Then they replaced him with another homosexual. After he left amid financial scandal, they chose another Metropolitan, who also was driven out. The OCA apparently has a Bishop who is an alcoholic who has porn on his computer and another who makes advances to women. The OCA has a deacon who is allowed to serve although he “married” another man before he returned to his homosexual relationship with a Bishop who is retired, but not laicized. One of your seminaries had a homosexual who roamed the halls of the dorm looking for sex. The OCA has an Archbishop who was arrested for child molesting. Another OCA Bishop communes a same transsexual (read castrated man) and his male lover in his Cathedral. A deacon caused a scandal in your national Cathedral because he refused communion to a well known practicing lesbian. One of your monasteries was led by an Abbot who was pro-gay. Remember all of this has been reported here by members of the OCA, not by me. Yes, I find these much more scandalous than an alcoholic Bishop who has been treated and is keeping sober, but while drunk and not in full control of his senses brushed against a woman and spent a couple months in jail. He was suspended and is not allowed to serve as a Bishop and is retired. He harms no one but serves the Church by making translations of needed liturgical texts. To me whatever Bishop Demetri did pales in comparison with the widespread corruption reported about the OCA on this blog by members of the OCA. I admit that I am very protecting of Bishop Demetri because he is a personal friend.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      To George Michalopulos above:

                      Now for a reality check. According to the canons, Bishops are always elected by the Holy Synod or a local Synod. In some jurisdictions, the people through their representatives at a diocesan or national convention have the right to nominate candidates, but the final selection is always made by a Synod of Bishops. In the history of the Antiochian Archdiocese, the Holy Synod or Local Synod has always honored the choice of the people. But we have a very different system. There are no nominations. The name of every Priest who is qualified is placed on the ballot.
                      Unfortunately as we say in the South, the people of the OCA are between a rock and an hard place. This means that whatever happens in Parma, the people of the OCA have to accept the decision of your Holy Synod whether or not you like it. Because you really do not have any other choice. You cannot appeal to Moscow, because Moscow recognizes the OCA as autocephalous. For that reason, I doubt very seriously that Moscow would want to become involved. Because the Ecumenical Patriarch does not recognize the autocephaly of the OCA, you cannot appeal to him. If he recognized the autocephaly of the OCA the Ecumenical Patriarch could call a meeting of the representatives of the other autocephalous Churches to deal with the matter. Besides I doubt that Constantinople would want to become involved. Therefore, you may have no choice but to learn to live with the choice of the Holy Synod of your Church and make the best of it. You can take comfort in the fact that even if the Bishop or Metropolitan is a terrible sinner, the Sacraments he administers are still filled with grace.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      To Ioann

                      I have not judged anyone as a malfactor. I have simply stated that if what is reported on this blog is true about some OCA Bishops they should be laicized. If you wash the dirty linen of the OCA in public, do not be surprised if others notice the problems and comment on them. I have not noticed a reluctance of some OCA people to criticize whatever they think is wrong with the Antiochian Archdiocese, our Metropolitan or our liturgical practices. In fact, just the opposite is true, some people in the OCA treat Antiochians as if we were not quite Orthodox enough.

              • RE: “I should have written laicized instead of suspended. There is no place for sexual immorality among Orthodox clergy.”


                • Dear Fr. John, Please forgive me if I gave the impression in my response to Bishop Tikhon regarding clergy being in a casino or bar, drunk. I did not, nor do I mean now to persecute those who have sinned and are living a quiet life of repentance. That would include your friend Bishop Demetri.
                  I really just meant to take a serious look at the clergy activity, not the activity of a woman in the vicinity of their actions.
                  It seems these days that persecuting, repentant, sinners unto their graves is the pass time of some,(Pokrov)but it is certainly NOT mine.
                  Thank you for just stating out loud he is your friend-simple as that.
                  Please forgive me a sinner.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    You do not owe me an apology. I am not that important or that over sensitive.
                    I agree that a Priest or Bishop has no place in a casino. I have lived within a few miles of 5 casinos for over 8 years and have never spent a penny gambling. I have eaten in them a few time, but always wore civies when I went. I actually try to avoid their buffets because I have a weight problem and do not need to be any place where I can eat all that I care to eat.
                    At least Bishop Demetri is not a hypocrite. He recognizes his drinking problem and is dealing with it. A Priest or Bishop who is an active homosexual or has a girl friend on the side but still serves as if he were doing nothing wrong is a hypocrite and should be disciplined.

              • Your Grace.! You are so educated re: history, I am surprised(even given your 80 years) that you don’t know that women have been entering and sitting at bars alone en masse since the 1960’s. That’s 50 years ago.
                Just like blacks also sit at lunch counters and bars these days.
                Moreover they can do it without the fear of cultural reprisal.
                “They are just asking for it”, is an out of date assumption and grossly bigoted.
                These days, every wedding dress is designed to be so sexy, that if worn 50 years ago, in church or out of it, the woman would have been accused of “asking for it.”
                The real question, is what was this priest doing drunk in a casino or bar at all? Let alone, groping a woman? eh?

                • Michael Bauman says

                  He is an alcoholic. His offense as bad as it was, pales in comparison to the offenses for which Bp Benjamin was convicted. A DUI is far worse than a the misdemeanor ‘sexual assualt’. The sexual offender registration laws often trivialize the crimes they are meant to punish and stigmatize men who are in no way real sexual offenders. As far as I know a misdemeanor sexual assualt never killed anybody. DUI does–often.

                  So if Bp Demetri should be laicized then so should Bp Benjamin. Hell, while were at it, let’s laicize everybody in the clergy who has ever sinned.

                • faceit! Women may sit in a bar alone OR en masse, but not both. You wrote this ridiculous sentence: “you don’t know that women have been entering and sitting at bars alone en masse since the 1960′s. That’s 50 years ago.” Get it?
                  Women have been entering bars alone since bars came into existence. This is not a revelation. Even today, though, FEW women pull up a stool at a bar alone, and you know it. I and my friends went to bars throughout the 1960s and into 1971. I only went into one once after being ordained in 1971, on St. Nicholas day in DC.
                  I emphasized, faceit, that I do not believe in blaming the victim. Yet you won’t see that: you insist otherwise by saying ““They are just asking for it” is my point of view. It is not.
                  In my humble aged opinion, women EVEN TODAY do NOT ordinarily or often go and pull up a bar stool alone. Tell me the bars that you frequent where all kinds of single women come ALONE and sit up at the bar, because I don’t think they do, and i think you may not know it. I think many women find sitting on a bar stool wearing a skirt or dress is not to their liking. Of course, there may be, oh, biker bars where biker-type women amble up to the bar for a snort, but I don’t KNOW that. Would that be the type bar faceit’s telling us of?
                  And IF the untrue hypothesis you put forth as fact were true, one might ask even MORE today than in “olden times” why she didn’t haul off and slap him or sock him one. I can’t imagine any girl I ever dated (or even know today) or woman NOT so reacting. Surely no one, male or female, would find Bishop Demetri’s appearance intimidating. What an idea!
                  faceit! You need to get out more. I think your “experience” is culled from the media!

                  • Yes, Maybe I do. Need to get out more. As it is I don’t watch TV etc. So you must be right.

                    • I haven’t owned a tv for years and years. But nowadays anything on tv is on the net, so I haven’t necessarily been impervious to “the media.” if you’re sincere about agreeing you need to get out more, why not go to a bar and see how many women are sitting all alone at the bar itself.

        • Ivan Vasililev says

          Yes! To the stake with ’em all!

          Enough already! God is our judge and the OCA house is already burning down. It really is time to move on. My choice, as always, is a return to our mother (MP) until we grow up a bit more and are ready to move out on our own again. ROCA often looks good, but it has some of the same political (but not moral) issues the OCA faces. The Turkish Village is NOT a choice and Antioch is under too much threat from the Islamists. That just leaves one Church large enough to take us in. No, they are not perfect, but they’ve already been tried in the fires. We can distract ourselves with Patriarchal wrist watches and whether or not a band of misbehaving putanas were punished too harshly—but in the end it is just that—distraction. The Russian Orthodox Church ought to be our refuge in this time of trouble. And before someone starts blowing hard about the “American Church”, just remember, phylitism can just as easily be applied to “Americanism” as it can to any other “ism”. This isn’t an ethnic thing. We really have to get help and we can’t do it for ourselves.

          • Dear Ivan,

            I hear you. The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey is hereditary, lacking the ecumene of even Bulgarian or Turkish Orthodox in Istanbul, situated next door to Islamacist Azeri neighbors and subject to approval by a secular Turkish state that views them, as they prefer to view themselves while in country, as a Greek minority of about 2000. How long would the Turkish Orthodox Church or Bulgarian Exarchate have lasted had there been even one liturgy a month each in Turkish and in Slavonic and would the ecumenical part of the Phanar’s title have been enhanced had they been more inclusive? The Jerusalem Patriarchate is under similar approval by a Jewish state. The Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian positions are in tenuous, even dangerous, circumstances.

            The answer is not to seek help from the Russians, even though the Russian Church is the mother of our Church in America. Nor should we get caught up in the nationalist desires of other local churches except to give them religious gifts of our freedom, like native language liturgies to the Alaskans before even they were Americans, native language translations of service books and a bible to the Albanians, and steadfast publishing in Russian during communism at our monastery and seminary presses, not to mention our assistance to the samizdat. Do you all realize that in many countries, we a a beacon for what is good and honest and workable for families in Orthodoxy? We have to get real and stop embarrassing ourselves. When we have a great Metropolitan asset like Jonah, we have to give him some support staff, not try to out Byzantine the Byzantines to get rid of him.

            What we need is to stop dividing ourselves in this country and stop putting ourselves under the leadership of foreigners. We have to commune with one another here, work with one another here. You, Ivan, have a rosy attitude toward the former Soviet Church emergent. Same is true of the Serbian, Bulgarian, Greek, Romanian, etc. etc. Orthodox, i.e. some of the ones that don’t have Greek as part of their hereditary Ottoman Phanariot titles. There are the same kinds of problems in leadership, looking the other way, a few closeted but active companions of bishops, financial scandals and all the panoply of the human condition in other countries, hate to inform your rosy outlook self.

            We need to understand the need for people to have an intelligible church and a safe one. By intelligible, it shouldn’t require jurisdiction jumping to get a Carpathorussian or an Ukrainian liturgy, nor Macedonian nor Montenegrin. If a language is dear to the hearts and mouths of its parishioners, then why not in their languages? It’s only nationalist when we impose our own languages on others and deny others equal representation in the language in which they pray and praise. If we follow the wisdom of Saint Photios on these matters, what we end up with is a parish or cathedral that can transition to a collectively determined form of English for their services once the immigrant generation has acculturated to American society, or a similar form of Spanish, etc. What we have now are too many jurisdictions pridefully reinventing the rule wheel and preventing unity for another generation of Diaspora instead of citizenry. And this prevents easy transitions of folks from other false religions into Orthodoxy without reinventing the convert experience individually and muddying up the jurisdictional mess.

            We need the help of everyone. One of the fellows that Metropolitan Jonah was going to use to help seed monasteries in the US, from the Church of Greece, had actually been used by the Antiochian Archdiocese to seed monasteries in Mexico. He managed to strengthen a Spanish speaking church! And he would have been helping us in the OCA excepting he got caught up in fulfilling his non violent Greek military service requirement (something accomplished, by the way, by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeo). We can thus borrow people from abroad to help us, but we do not have to place ourselves under the control of foreigners to do it. Btw, the Moscow Patriarchate seems to care about our avtokefaliya and our Metropolitan, why don’t you?

            Am I the only one who finds it horrifying that ten monks from Metropolitan Jonah’s former monastery in Manton ended up in the Serbian Archdiocese in a monastery that itself had jumped jurisdictions?

            We have plenty of people who can help us, but we have to have the will to come together in His Holy Name.

            • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

              A MONTENEGRIN Liturgy?Please.Also,I doubt that the Turks would ever have allowed a Turkish language Liturgy.Surely you know the so-called Turkish Orthodox Church has nothing to do with the legitmate Orthodox Church.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Actually, Bishop Basil has told me that there are Liturgies in Turkish in southern Turkey which is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Antioch.
                In 1924 with the support of the Turkish government of Ataturk an effort was made to establish a Turkish Orthodox Church. It was always small and was never recognized by the rest of Orthodoxy. Remember Ataturk was a Turkish nationalists who tried to turn Turkey into a secular state.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Whatever happens in the Middle East, the Antiochian Archdiocese in America will continue to grow and flourish. Therefore, the comment about “the Turkish village” was uncalled for. However, I seriously doubt that our Metropolitan would accept a parish from the OCA or any other canonical Orthodox jurisdiction without the proper canonical release. Regardless of its problems the OCA is canonical even if most of us do not recognize its autocephaly. It is none of my business what happens in Parma, but I pray that the OCA will resolve its problems and move on to flourish and grow as an Orthodox Church. If the OCA has any Bishops or Priests who do not uphold the moral teachings of the Orthodox Church they should be required to repent or be suspended. There is no place in Orthodoxy for a Lavender Mafia.

          • Harry Coin says

            You know, I disagree. The focus here has been on misdoing in some high offices. But, those offices are such a small fraction of the church. It would be a shame to put all those folks ‘under’ a foreign power on this basis. Better to correct the house than abandon it.

          • Ivan Vasililev says:
            October 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm
            “The Russian Orthodox Church ought to be our refuge in this time of trouble.”
            Yes, but I don’t think the clergy and laity of the Romanian, Albanian, and maybe even the Bulgarian Archdioceses would go along with that.

        • Fr. Philip says

          To those eager to depose sinning clerics:

          If anyone has specific charges to make against any clergyman (or layperson, for that matter, since layfolk are also subject to the disciplinary process of the Church)) alleging “unorthodox belief, breaches of canonical or moral discipline… (Article XI,3, of The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America), that person will find the procedures for bringing such charges set out in the same Article XI,4. According to the Sacred Canons and repeated in Article XI,4,b, unless the accusation be one of financial misdoing, the accuser’s own character must be examined and established as “good and irreproachable” before a Spiritual Court can bring the accused to trial. (See Article XI,4, for an outline of the rest of the process.) Just FYI, the OCA’s Statute seems to be actually more liberal than the Canons, in that it apparently does not demand that the accuser be an Orthodox Christian (a demand which the Canons do make). In any case, there are proper procedures in place.

          HOWEVER, one ignores Galatians 6:1 and, even moreso, Matthew 12:20 and John 8:3-11, at the peril of one’s soul, a lesson the desert fathers repeat again and again. One must also be mindful of John 7:24. A story is told of a monk who suspected one of his brethren of fornication. Walking along a road, he was certain he saw his fellow monk in a field, fornicating with a local girl. In a rage, he ran up and began kicking them both…only to realise that what he was kicking was two bales of hay. The truth is that the life of grace is often pretty messy; and while rigid legalism, like any kind of fascism, is orderly, it inevitably strangles the soul. All told, the process the Lord commands (not suggests, but commands) in Matthew 18:15-18 is always the right course.

          So which of these sinning brethren have any of you approached one-on-one and told him his fault between you and him alone?

          • Monk James says

            God knows that I did this and got nothing but trouble for it.

            The canons clearly allow aggrieved clergy to seek relief in civil law when the bishops won’t be just. And if the clergy can do that, then so can the laity.

            The Gospel assumes that the bishops understand and follow the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ. But what can the clergy and the laity do when the bishops behave as functional atheists?!

            • I would rather not put not my trust in princes, in sons of men, for in them there is no salvation.

              That said, I am glad in my heart to hear that you have done the right thing in the Church and sorrowful that your efforts have come to naught.

              If someone has shown himself to be a danger to the world at large as well as the church, then it is our responsibility to report to authorities in a position to investigate that possible danger. We are no longer an Orthodox society and even in those societies that have pretense to be Orthodox, we have civil as well as ecclesiastical authorities. Both the churches of Greece and Cyprus have suffered financial and sex scandals. We in the OCA are not alone in having endured these.

          • Fr. Philip,

            If you think that there are “proper procedures in place” with regard to sexual misconduct in the OCA you should see a psychologist as soon as possible. Are you a bishop in the OCA because your response seems to suggests it?

            With respect, your response is EXACTLY why the OCA is crumbling!!! “Nothing to see here folks. We’ve got all the procedures in place.” Can you possibly be serious? Your response is as a friend of mine years ago described, “choking on a gnat and letting the the (pink) elephants walk by.”

            By the way, in case anyone else wants to look it up, the 10th All-American Council you referenced occurred in 1959 — way to go updating the policies and procedures.

            Let’s take a real life example. In the Antiochian Archdiocese, a priest named Silas Ruark was outed as a child molester by some of the children in his parish. He was deposed within a matter of hours. Would that have occurred in the OCA? Probably not according to the guidelines and statutes of the OCA. To the credit of Archbishop Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese, he dealt with the matter immediately. He didn’t wait for his accusers to see whether his actions were or were not in keeping with the Holy Orthodox Church. He simply applied common sense.

            Let’s take another real life example. How about Mark Forsberg, the former bishop of Boston in the OCA. The guy married another man!!! Yet why has the OCA never defrocked him? Please tell me you have some intelligent response for this one. Or better yet, how about Metropolitan Theodosius? Do you honestly believe is not gay?

            You and others want to hide in your world that people like me are just stirring the pot or making false accusations. Sorry, I hate to tell you but I am telling the truth. If you want to really get ugly, I will present a whole list of people. The statute you cited is a joke and you know it. It certainly was not designed to be a joke but it is. How many people have been brought to a spiritual court for homosexuality in the OCA? I believe the answer is zero yet I just gave you two openly professing homosexuals.

            Your response is not just insulting, it’s tragic.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              His Eminence also called the police and reported the abuse. Since the Priest admitted his guilt, there was no need for a spiritual court. He was immediately laicized. Is Bishop Mark Fosberg, whom you accuse of being an active homosexual allowed to serve? I remember him when he was still a Priest, he substituted at the parish I was assigned to while I was in seminary. I remember how he made a big deal out of the Antiochian practice of putting the service book on the Holy Table. Somehow, I think living a moral life is much more important than the “offense” of putting the service book on the Holy Table during the Liturgy. After all, the service book contains the sacred texts of the Divine Liturgy. Some of us have bad eyesight. I would not be able to read the texts if they were on a stand besides the Holy Table.

            • Fr. Philip says

              Dear Catherine,

              I may be, perhaps, the only person in the OCA or on the planet who still actually believes that The Statutehas binding force; but I do…if for no other reason than because by established U.S. legal precedent failure to abide by its governing documents is a breach of fiduciary duty even for hierarchical churches, and is therefore actionable.

              As for my being a bishop, I can only urge you to cease eating cheese before you go to sleep; then these nightmares will probably stop. For the record, I am not, would never consent to be, and most certainly do not want to be, a bishop any time in God’s lifetime. When I was a very young priest, I did have a short bout of episcopitis; but I am (thanks be to God for His mercy) long since recovered. I’m too old, too tired, too cranky and (to be perfectly honest) too much of a homebody to want to travel all over creation, hauling around 10 tonnes (metric, since I’m in Canada) of “bishop stuff.”

              Concerning the 10th All-American Council, it was held in Miami in 1992; you’re probably thinking of the 10th All-American Sobor. In 1970 the 14th All-American Sobor became the 1st All-American Council.

              Concerning “procedures,” I refer to the procedures for bringing charges against a clergyman or layperson in the appropriate Spiritual Court. Whether or not a person with first-hand knowledge of an offense chooses to avail him/herself of the procedures is totally up to that person. I can say that in cases with which I am familiar, the process has worked. Indeed, in a recent event, a priest was suspended immediately the bishop learned of his transgression. For deposing or, as it’s more commonly called, “defrocking” a priest, the Canons require a trial of said priest before a panel of 6 bishops plus his own bishop. In the OCA, the diocesan Spiritual Court is the court of first instance and, in the case of clergy facing deposition, is more equivalent to a grand jury. It makes a finding, based on testimony and documentary evidence, then makes a recommendation to the Bishop. The Bishop then takes the case to the Holy Synod for final disposition (Article XI,4,i). I cannot say I agree that a single bishop, upon an admission of guilt, can depose a priest, because I see absolutely no provision for that in the Sacred Canons (which I’ve been studying for 42 years); in my opinion, a trial before the requisite number of bishops would still be necessary. And again, in my experience (and I can only speak from my own experience), the process works when it’s given a chance to work. As for “applying common sense,” legal procedures (including spiritual courts) are in place precisely to guarantee due process for every accused. Short-circuiting that process is at best short-sighted and at worst heretical, in that it implicitly denies the authority of one part of Holy Tradition, namely, the Sacred Canons.

              As to why some accusations have not made it to a spiritual court, I have no personal knowledge. Nor can I speak to what “everyone knows.” I’ve never met Bishop Mark or the archdeacon, and have no direct knowledge of their particulars. I have met Metropolitan Theodosius, but only once, for the consecration of a church. What I remember most was, firstly, the time he took to explain each step of the service as it was happening; and, secondly, how damaged his hands were from arthritis. Of his supposed problems, I saw not a trace; so I have no personal knowledge of his situation. I am told that within the past 10 years at least two OCA clergy were deposed for homosexual offenses.
              (But then, there have been depositions for heterosexual offenses too. I guess the only clergy we can have are asexual Sheldon Cooper clones.)

              The very fact that without knowing me you would choose to ascribe to me evil motives merely reinforces the importance of heeding the Lord’s word in John 7:24. I would also urge you to imbibe deeply of the truth of James 1:20, that “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

          • Disgusted With It says

            Fr. Philip,

            Unfortunately, in the OCA when you try to confront people in private, they will destroy you in public.

      • lexcaritas says

        Our brother in Christ Fr. Philip is right to point out: <>

        True, but when notorious violations continue without discipline and the teaching is unenforce by action it becomes a dead letter in the same way that faith without works is dead.

        Actions speak louder than words; in fact, words without action lose their voice and, in the end, speak not at all.
        As our Lord taught us, His disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Matthew 23:2-3


  20. Veronica Morris says

    I would like to personally thank the deeply afraid folks at Syossot who arranged for there to be a police/media show at Parma. You cannot buy that kind of ‘news’ coverage. You people think we’re coming with chains and guns or something? We are asking questions, and you are stone-walling us, hence we come to where you are and ask in person. Ask. Questions. Christians asking questions. Fearsome. Next thing you know you will go over the lists of those requesting to be at Parma and start excluding them for not having the same ‘beliefs’ that you hold. Slippery slope.

    • Heracleides says

      Professionally speaking, the more public exposure the Syosset clowns and moral lepers on the Unholy Synod receive, the better. By their present actions, they’ve done Jonah’s supporters huge favor in this regard. To take full advantage, it would be most advantageous to call the local media (both TV and radio) in advance. Explain that there will be protesters at the event and anticipating trouble, the organizers of the ‘council’ have hired security to keep them in check and silence all dissent. While fisticuffs are highly unlikely, if the media think there is even a remote possibility of a dustup, “they will come.”

    • They already do!

      Next thing you know you will go over the lists of those requesting to be at Parma and start excluding them for not having the same ‘beliefs’ that you hold.

      The author of the OCL article, which magically disappeared from the OCL web site after staying published there for about ten days, Joel Kalvesmaki, has been elected by his parish as an alternate/observer. However, he has been barred from attending the council by Bishop Alexander specifically for the views that he expressed in his article.

      Here are the links to the article
      and the story of the author being barred from attending the AAC

      • D.C. Attorney says

        The comedy from Syosset continues today, ironically, with this statement on the OCA site:

        “Crucial to the success of the 17th All-American Council, slated to convene at Holy Trinity Church, Parma, OH on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, is a full compliment of delegates representing parishes of every diocese of the Orthodox Church in America.”

        They left out the phrase “as long as they agree with the Holy Synod – otherwise, a bishop will have them barred.” But, perhaps, everyone should already be aware of that.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Are there going to be delegates coming in from Alaska? Do they have the funds to do so?

          • Lola , they only want a good representation, to make them look good. I wish it were other wise but they tossed out the guy who had the courage to print the reality. So it looks like all they want is a “show of representation,” not the real thing.
            If you want to help someone get there, I suggest contacting individual clergy and maybe your money will go to the “real representative.

            • lexcaritas says

              Lola, you suggest that the clergy will be our “real representatives”. I pray you are right. However, if one or only a few speak out, they will almost certainly be punished. Only if a large number act in concert and with calm, but intense steadfastness and an insistence of transparency, truth and repentance do they stand a chance. But is there an effort in this regad? I have no idea, but I have suspect not and have seen no signs of of.

              Frankly, the more the Sysosset Staff and the Synod of Bishops do the more they ressemble a cabal or criminal conspiracy than a holy organ of the Body of Christ and succesors to the Apostles.

              With tears was I singing yesterday mornign the ancient 7th Century hymn, Christ the Church’s sure Foundation, Christ the Head and Cornerstone. Would that we all would try harder to ressember Him. Instead, like Israel of old, we profane the Name we bear by behaving no better than the heathen.

              Our leaders? They have caused the humblest among them to resign, projecting on him their own foibles and faults and furrthering their own agendas. Such are not great, but least in the Kingdom of Heaven. And in place or repentance and course correction, we behold a certain doubling down and hardening. Such is the pride that comes before destruction and the haughty spirit that precedes the fall.

              Help us, save us and have mercy on us. Are we prepared in humilty to rreceive His grace?


        • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

          Dear D.C.Attorney,
          Isn’t sealing people in the church illegal? I know the Vatican seals in the College of Cardinals when electing a Pope,but the Vatican is a state unto itself and not subject to US law.
          Likewise,we have a community here where the Rector orders the gates to the premises sealed five minutes after the Sunday Liturgy starts.No one may enter of leave the premises until after Liturgy ends.There is access to a bathroom outside the church proper,but what if there were a medical emergency?
          Just wondering.

          • I hope sealing the doors is just a figure of speech. Actually locking them would be dangerous.

            Memo to Syosset: we’re not literally going to storm the church or anything like that. No need to violate the fire code to get your point across. I’d just as soon worship out in the cold than in there.

          • This last move by +Bishop Alexander is the last straw. I keep thinking every time I hear a new and more unethical move on the part of the OCA Synod, that that is it — they can do no more to hurt the OCA. But I am always wrong. This removal of an observer/alternate because his Christian ideal looks different from the status quo of the FRAMERS of +Met Jonah is by far the lowest they can slump in the “new OCA.
            This new Bishop Alexander must be setting a whole new life of shameful collaboration of lies, retaliation, and duplicity. Congratulation!
            I just hope all of you are willing to leave the OCA the minute this travesty is over. If it is difficult for you, just know how difficult and what a sacrifice it has been for +Met Jonah who never even wanted the job Let the dead bury their dead.
            I don’t think any move by this ridiculous group of pretenders of Christianity has distressed me as much.
            i should have known, I should have anticipated the faithlessness of their hearts.

      • Philadelphia, PA says

        Last night, after reading that Bishop Alexander forbade Mr. Kalvesmaki to attend the AAC as a representative from his home parish of St Nicholas Cathedral in DC, I was overcome with more sadness than I can remember.

        Joel was asking questions that a lot of us have. I applaud his courage to research the issues surrounding Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation and to ask questions in a public forum.

        This is the heart of the matter, is it not — that Joel asked questions, and Bishop Alexander didn’t like the questions that were asked.

        This act, barring Joel from attending the AAC — even though he was duly elected by his parish — sends chills down my spine. I can only give thanks to God that due to current living circumstances I do not attend an OCA parish now, even though for much of my life I did. I came to fully understand our faith and had so many wonderful examples of Christ’s love in OCA priests, parishioners, and yes, past OCA bishops.

        What is going on? Since when is man’s free will not honored? Since when is our freedom suppressed to the extent that we cannot even ask questions in church? Are our hierarchs dictators? No!!!

        God created us with free will — indeed, not only will He never cause us to act against our free will, but He cannot even do that! By our own God-created nature, we are not puppets. Of his own free will (and representing many of the rest of us who also have questions), Mr. Kalvesmaki asked questions that should be discussed!

        Bishop Alexander essentially said Shut up and go away! Don’t ask such questions! What kind of bishop does that?

        What kind of faithful support such episcopal leadership?

        What do the faithful of the Archdiocese of Washington DC think of Bishop Alexander’s action? Is the St Nicholas Cathedral parish up in arms about this? If not, why not???

        If the episcopal leadership of the OCA is so fearful of its own faithful asking questions to the extent that they punish those who have the courage to ask the obvious, things are much, much worse than I thought.

        The legacy of Metropolitan Leonty, of Father Alexander Schmemann, of Archbishop Dmitri is gone. What would these venerable leaders have thought of Bishop Alexander’s action, of punishing a faithful member of the Church who asks questions?

        • “What do the faithful of the Archdiocese of Washington DC think of Bishop Alexander’s action? Is the St Nicholas Cathedral parish up in arms about this? If not, why not???”

          The parish in DC has not been told . . . .

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            I certainly haven’t gotten any email from the Announce list about this.

            • Why don’t we agree to meet at the cathedral for the service to be sung by the Sretensky choir on Saturday and ask some questions after the service?

              • Well because I don’t want to bring my kids into the negativity at this church. Maybe Joel will go . . .

                By the way I don’t know Fr. Perich and he doesn’t know us, we stopped attending before he arrived except for one visit from me for a baptism. Joel has attended a few other times . . . But whatever he believes about us is just gossip, plain and simple.

        • Depends on what questions were being asked……..

  21. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    A new Metropolitan will be selected in Parma. There may or may not be any discussion, debate or argument on what has transpired reference Archbishop Jonah…. If the next Metropolitan is able to weather the storm of internal strife within the OCA, he will be the one to take the OCA into that “construct” which is to come out of the Assembly of Bishops. I think we can all be certain the polity of this “construct” will look nothing like the OCA with its autonomous dioceses, metropolitan council, Clergy/Lay Councils, etc., i.e., significant involvement of the laity in the strategic leadership of the Church. Goodness, if auxiliary bishops in the AOCNA are nothing more than assistants to the Metropolitan Archbishop, the construct to come out of the AOB will be sure to keep the laity in their place – as some have stated, pray, pay and obey. The bishops to make up the synod of this “construct” will be controlled as well; decisioning making authority will be the prerogative of the Metropolitan Archbishop alone. Another configuration of the Church the Patriarchs and Metropolitan Archbishops of the the autocephalous churches will not accept; the U.S. has shown itself to be too unruly, you see. Life for many in the Orthodox Church in the United States is going to change in some very significant and maybe not so pleasant ways.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      The clergy and laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese are not left out of the decision making process when it comes to the non-spiritual affairs of the Archdiocese. Each parish has a Parish Council elected by the people with some members appointed by the Pastor. The Archdiocese has an Archdiocesan Convention and a Board of Trustees elected by the convention that manages the financial and other non-spiritual affairs of the Archdiocese. No matter what you have heard, Metropolitan Philip is not a tyrant or a dictator. He is a leader who can be decisive, but does not micromanage the Dioceses or his clergy. He is advised by the Synod of Bishops which, according to what I have heard from our Bishops has an open exchange of ideas during their meetings. However, from everything that I have read your Metropolitan Council and your Diocesan Bishops have too much independent power and your Metropolitan too litte authority in the OCA. The Church is not a democracy. God gave us an hierarchical Church. If you look around at the American churches that operate as a democracy, especially when it comes to doctrine, sooner or later, they surrender their beliefs to the currents of the secular culture.

  22. With over 2000 years of Christian Orthodox history, this is the literature that a major Orthodox seminary chooses to showcase and discuss in public? What kind of [crap] has the OCA spawned. Can a seminar of Capote be far off? How about Tom Wolfe?!

    October 1, 2012
    SVOTS Orthodox Education Day October 6 to explore Judeo-Christian themes in literature
    YONKERS, NY [SVOTS Communications]


    Enter the worlds of Narnia, Middle Earth, and Panem on Saturday, October 6, 2012 on the campus of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary here as the school celebrates its annual open house and fall festival, “Orthodox Education Day.”

    This year’s theme—“Inklings of Glory: Godward Journeys with Lewis and Tolkien”—opens doors to literary treasures with Judeo-Christian themes, including the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and the blockbuster movie and phenomenal book, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. …

    • George Michalopulos says

      Photius, I think a seminar on the Inklings is a wonderful thing. It was JRR Tolkien who prayed fervently for CS Lewis that he leave atheism to come to faith in Christ.

      • Venerable George!

        I thought of that too, and felt many would disagree with me. But jeepers! With everything going on, with so many on the far right questioning SVS……

        This is the wrong time to present these topics. This is no more than SVS sticking its finger in the eye of the conservatives in the Church. Not wise, not prudent, not Christian.

        SVS could have chosen this moment to be leaders, to be healers, to unite, and to show the world that the OCA is not the asylum it has become. Very disappointed. Oh well, one less place to send money. This is not what Fr. Schmemman would have done, i suspect he would have found a way to teach the moment and get the bishops out of their pit of excrement.

        • Photius, with all due respect, you are 100% barking up the wrong tree. SVS has had this topic picked out for several months now. Just last year for Ed Day, they honored military service and installed a large American flag on campus, which caused much screaming and shouting from OCA liberals.

          By the way, I haven’t paid a dime to my OCA parish or diocese since the first week of July.

  23. George Osborne says

    Dear All in Christ,

    May I make a small suggestion both to all OCA members and others who regularly post here? And I ask in advance for your forgiveness if this seems overly simplistic, it’s just that I can’t remember seeing this suggested.

    I suggest we agree to fast and pray on Mondays especially that God’s Will be done at Parma regardless of the circumstances and how the outcome outwardly appears to us. I suggest Monday because, of course, Wednesday’s and Fridays are already fast days and hopefully are already being used as days of prayer and reflection on the events we have discussed here over the past months.

    The odd thing about God’s Will seems to be that the immediate, visible outcome may not be the inevitable outcome that fulfills God’s ultimate purpose. What seems right or wrong to us may not be what needs or should be done to bring about events that “work together for good.”

    So, perhaps, let’s start what could be taken up by all concerned who can’t and maybe even shouldn’t be at Parma. Let’s just set aside a day to fast and pray and invite everyone to do the same. Then regardless, perhaps we can rest assured that whatever the outcome, God’s Will was done, even if it’s not what we wanted or expected.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to be preachy. I just thought a good prayer on an empty belly is better than protesting or hand wringing. God bless all of us to be humble and discerning.



  24. “sticking its finger in the eye of the conservatives in the Church” — what in the world are you talking about?

    SVS has its leftward drift for sure, and I won’t defend the place on all accounts. But Tolkien was a monarchist Tory and a conservative as any (used to embarrass his son by shouting out the Latin responses at Mass after the reforms of Paul VI and the introduction of English), and CS Lewis, whatever he was, was certainly no lefty. And the priest who is presenting the talk on Tolkien, Fr Andrew Cuneo, was formerly a professor at Hillsdale College before studying for the priesthood.

    Give me a break! Go back to your homework.

    • You miss the point.

      My comment was that with centuries of Orthodox Christian theology and literature, they choose something to make them look “trendy”

      Why not a seminar on the Russian writer: Leskov? Someone little known in the west. I don’t give a flying crap about Hillsdale College, Fr. Cuneo or Latin Masses and Paul VI. I do care that the Orthodox Church in America has lost its way. The convert fascination with things western and OrthoDOC, is just their way of importing their anglo-saxon ethnicity into the Church while bitching about our Greek and Slavic traditions. Everyone out of the pool, its over kids.

      Oh, and sorry my dog ate my homework.

      • Point taken. Someone little known in the West, and Orthodox. Leskov. The Serbian poet-philosopher Prince Petar Njegos (a topic of a book by St Nikolai of Ohrid). The novelist Alessandros Papadiamantis. The literary critic and poet Zesimos Lorentzatos. The poet Tatiana Goricheva. The films of Andrei Takovsky. The novels of Tito Collinder. The composers Anna Gubaidalena, Alexander Kaifel, Alfred Schnittke — even the deeply Orthodox Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavara. . . . perhaps even the music of Arvo Pärt?

        — No wait, SVS is devoting a whole public project-cum-film production to Pärt.

        In this case (and perhaps only in this case), the choice has nothing to do with the leftward drift (which is definitely real) or trendiness. In the academic world within which some SVS professors seek acceptance, Tolkien and Lewis are anything but trendy. There is also nothing wrong with “importing their anglo-saxon ethnicity into the Church” — it is inevitable, and no more or less wrong than the Russians’ importing their ethnicity into the Greek Church — if by that we mean to baptise what is good and honourable, even Christian, in these cultures. There is a need for this. It does not at all mean bitching about Greek and Slavic traditions (which is obviously just stupid).

        There is no guarantee that a given 19th century Russian writer is going to be more Orthodox or Christian and worthy of attention as a source of edification than a Western counterpart such as TS Eliot, Charles Peguy, Paul Claudel, David Jones, or Georges Bernanos (see the work of the Orthodox translator of Bernanos, William Bush, on Bernanos’ strongly Orthodox affinities). A given Eastern writer may be less Orthodox in substance than a given Western Christian writer. Don’t commit the genetic fallacy here.

        Likewise, try dealing with those writers from Orthodox countries after 1453; what were they reading? Western European writers. Dostoyevsky, for instance, loved Dickens. Integrity of tradition does not spell isolationism.

        Leftward turn? Check. But I’m afraid you can’t blame the ruin of the OCA on too much fascination with “the West,” if by that you mean the best fruits of the Christian West. Tolkien and Lewis were at least straight-up and clear in communicating their wholly Orthodox stand on sex difference and its relation to questions of women’s ordination, homosexuality and so on. Something I’m afraid can’t entirely be said for the whole faculty of SVS.

        • Oh and by the way —

          “This is not what Fr. Schmemman would have done, i suspect he would have found a way to teach the moment and get the bishops out of their pit of excrement.” —

          Fr Schmemann’s journals attest that he loved French novels and French poetry (Julien Green, Baudelaire et al.), and that he considered himself a Westerner. But equally that he had no use for the Left.

          • Enjoyed reading your responses. I too am a westerner, so are we all. The great works of literature you mention are worthy in and of themselves, I am not suggesting otherwise.

            I do object to the convert anglo-saxon import of traditions, when they want to drive out foreign language, foreign peoples, and bad icons. These is such a thing as a prayed church, look at the destruction of the Alaskan Churches perpetrated by that last OCA bishop up there, Nikolai. Historic churches made over in his image and likeness. The Russian Church is correctly angry that the OCA does not, for the most part preach to her flock in the USA. The OCA lost its ability to do so many years ago. Many GOA parishes in the middle and far west no longer have a Greek school, and in parishes with Greek speaking peoples, convert priests serve in English and bad Greek. The future here is with the Greeks and Russians and others coming over, as well as converts.

            Too many converts were and are being ordained before they have had a chance to ripen and mature in the Church. Too many think they have the ability and right to preach and teach. Now, western ethnic influences have a place and a right in the Orthodox Church in this country, but over time, organically and as a process of growth, not as an act of violence.

            As for Tolkien not being trendy, where have you been man? No movies are being made in the US of A from Leskov’s movies!

            There is nothing wrong with being an enlightened reader, or person, or academic exploration But at this moment, in this place, SVS has crapped in the punch bowl. Their judgment if off, not what it should be. They are Clint Eastwood, talking to an empty chair.

            • “I do object to the convert anglo-saxon import of traditions, when they want to drive out foreign language, foreign peoples . . . The Russian Church is correctly angry that the OCA does not, for the most part preach to her flock in the USA. The OCA lost its ability to do so many years ago. Many GOA parishes in the middle and far west no longer have a Greek school, and in parishes with Greek speaking peoples, convert priests serve in English and bad Greek. The future here is with the Greeks and Russians and others coming over, as well as converts. Too many converts were and are being ordained before they have had a chance to ripen and mature in the Church. Too many think they have the ability and right to preach and teach. Now, western ethnic influences have a place and a right in the Orthodox Church in this country, but over time, organically and as a process of growth, not as an act of violence.”

              I absolutely agree with you here on the ethnic issue, now that you put it this way. Some of this can be accounted for by arrogance, by the particular character of the converts coming in (mostly from Protestant traditions that put their main focus on evangelizing, gaining converts etc — making automatic trip to the seminary and the clergy natural for them), and by the anti-ethic card played by a certain major jurisdiction for several generations. But the failure of some immigrant Orthodox to pass on their faith in anything more than an osmotic manner, and the unhealthy desire to gain acceptance by WASP American elites, also played a role. e.g., it’s OK if my son becomes a dentist or lawyer or university professor, not OK if he wants to go to seminary and become a priest.

              Tolkien — not trendy in the academic world. But your point is taken as you meant the pop culture world. It’s just that I don’t see SVS as oriented toward that world — as, say, maybe His Grace Bp Savvas might be. My guess is that it’s actually one the more conservative elements at SVS that is behind the choice of theme, just as previously with the military theme. If that depresses you, I’m sorry — I do understand. My thought was rather with how it could be much, much worse.

              I think your mission just may be to get Leskov into film and make him trendy in the US! 🙂 Cheers to that!

      • Photius, would you have accused St. Tikhon of “convert fascination with things western” when he authorized the Western Rite? How about Sts. Herman and Innocent, when they identified many cultural practices of the Native Americans in Alaska as entirely compatible with and supportive of Ortho-praxis?

        You speak of “our” Slavic and Greek traditions. I have news for you. “Our” Orthodox traditions include elements of Jewish, Celtic, Arabic, Eastern European, African, Native American, and yes, even Western European culture, and none of these are more authentically Orthodox than the others. Seems to me that you need to get over your ethno-egoism.

        • Oh please, get a new gig.

          The Western rite was and is just another failed attempt at an idea that had a time and moment that we failed to respond to as a Church. There was a time when it might have worked here, but only with the full promotion of the Church as a whole, not some wankie convert moldy oldie nostalgia for the vomit they came from, or a timely and valiant attempt by Patriarch (St.) Tikhon.

          Its over, every so often someone tries to raise the dead and bring it back, most recently ROCOR. But unless and until the American bishops OCA, Antiochian, or ROCOR stop playing infant of Prague dress up, and really put minds, money, teaching and labor into the mill, only foolishness comes out of this mess.

          Nothing wrong with a western rite, what is wrong “with” is the people that failed what was once, a good idea.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            The Western Rite has not been a failure. The Western Rite is alive and well in the Antiochian Archdiocese. I also understand that it is doing well in ROCOR.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Photius, I second Fr John’s assessment here. I dare say that there are more Western Rite parishes being opened than Eastern Rite, if the numbers I hear coming out of ROCOR are true.

  25. D.C. Attorney says

    Alternate delegate from primatial cathedral to Parma barred from attending due to viewpoint:

    • Mark from the DOS says

      Details? Given the colon, is there a link to something about this?

    • D.C. Attorney says

      For some reason, “A Bishop’s Response” did not post:

      • AllMyLoving says

        this is the duly elected alternate delegate’s story:

        2 October 2012

        On 18 September 2012 Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) published an op ed piece in which I laid out an argument for how recent events in the OCA should be assessed in light of OCL’s four principles (jurisdictional unity, spiritual renewal, lay participation in church governance, and transparency and accountability in the same). I argued that the bishops’ July 16 statement and other recent actions they took vis-a-vis Metropolitan Jonah (a supporter of OCL) ran counter to those principles. My criticism was meant to be constructive. I offered two ways the bishops might move the Church forward: (1) offer the Faithful a detailed, complete account of reasons for seeking +Jonah’s resignation, correcting or justifying alleged errors in the July 16 statement; (2) teach the Faithful how to repent by explaining how and where members of the synod and administration erred. I had intended the piece to be a firm but polite catalyst to conversation; I looked forward to edifying dialogue that might help me—and anyone confused—understand recent events better.

        The Sunday after that piece ran (23 September), my parish, St. Nicholas Cathedral (Washington, DC) had a special meeting to consider a proposed basement renovation. Toward the end of the meeting, the Administrator, Fr. John Perich, secured the floor to discuss the cathedral’s delegation to the 17th All-American Council, in Parma, Ohio on November 13. That is the council charged with electing a new Metropolitan for the OCA. Fr. John said that the cathedral was authorized to have one voting delegate, one (nonvoting) alternate, and one observer. He said he had been given the authority to appoint lay delegates himself. (If so, then Fr. John was being authorized to violate OCA Statute III.6.a, which requires lay delegates to be elected at a parish meeting; no accommodation is made for rectors’ appointments.) But he said he preferred to put the decision in the hands of the parish, which then agreed. I was one of five persons nominated. On closed ballot I was elected to serve as the second, alternate (nonvoting) delegate for the cathedral.

        Two days later (Tuesday, 25 September) I received an envelope from the cathedral with two letters. The first, signed by the cathedral clergy Fr. John Perich, Fr. Denis Bradley, and Fr. Valery Shemchuk (and addressed to me) is a cover letter to the second, signed by Bishop Alexander (addressed to Fr. John), barring me from attending the 17th AAC for two congruent but different reasons. The first (main paragraph, sentence two) is because I authored the document; second (sentence four) is because of my sentiments (that is, no reference is made to whether or not I expressed them).

        I have been asked by a number of people, most of whom are perplexed by the rationale and the propriety of such a decision, to publish the 25 September letter. I refer such inquirers to Fr. John Perich, whom +Alexander instructed to make the letter public. I would prefer that he—not I—obey that directive. If he does not make the letter public, as asked, then requests should be directed to +Alexander.

        I take no offense in any of these matters. The injury is to the parish, whose call to serve I was prepared to obey. I cherish the critics of my arguments, particularly those who are able to reveal my errors (or those of my sources) with precision and care. I still hope to include my bishops among those loyal critics. To date only one has responded, merely by stipulating that anyone who comes to the same conclusions I have, whether expressed or not, is unfit to represent his or her parish at the upcoming All-American Council. This principle, and the response, should be of great concern to all OCA faithful—laity and clergy alike.

        —Joel Kalvesmaki

        • How about Perich, a man of his character should be excluded not you. I am sorry Joel that this happened. The OCA DC Cathedral is in terrible trouble, and to exclude a good person is just not right. Due process was followed, and you were elected. Those that turned the cathedral over to Perich, have sealed it doom. Imagine that in all America and Canada, he was the only man for the job. Shocking.

          Prayers for you and the DC community,

          Photius Y. Felopolous

          • What do you have against Fr. John Perich?

          • Dear Photius,

            I personally like Father John Perich and think that he would be great for the cathedral. He knows some of the old timers, seems interested in meeting the folks new to him, handles both English and Russian and Slavonic beautifully, has a conservative Orthodox pronoma, is well read in our traditions and is inspiring as a sermonizer. he also encouraged cultural activities at his home parish and such things have always been popular at the cathedral. Maybe he can convince Greg Oleynik to start up the Slavic Male Chorus again or the women’s choir that Greg had well started once upon a time. His matushka was recently severely injured and bedridden and was hospitalized by an injury upon coming to Washington. He himself has physical challenges.

            I am rather shocked that someone who seems so sweet and right as him would be a party to removing Joel Kalvesmaki’s opportunity to participate at the AAC on the basis of Joel having well based questions about online allegations about our Metropolitan Jonah on the OCA website which have never been retracted nor explained.

            • Gregg Gerasimon says

              Yes I really like Father John as well, and the Cathedral parish is fortunate to have him. I hadn’t realized that he already left his previous parish in Pennsylvania. I also didn’t know that his Matushka was injured — I pray that she is doing better now. Prayers for them, and also many prayers for the St Nicholas Cathedral community given everything that has gone on there with the resignation of Met. Jonah and with the (ridiculous) refusal to allow Joel Kalvesmaki to attend the AAC. So much for our freedoms to ask questions.

            • John Perich? You mean Father QVC who hawked cheap “Russian” knockoff stuff as antiques and rare valuables to saps on QVC for an amazing profit? That John Perich? Is he still around?


    As some may know, the lord chancellor John Jillions is in Denver for the Assembly of the Diocese of the West. He reports that last night he went out to dinner with +Benjamin and members of their diocesan council. He goes on to give us this tidbit:

    Last night after vespers I went to dinner with the Diocesan Council and listened-in on their hopes and concerns. As Archbishop Benjamin pointed out, while there has been “drama” on the OCA’s national level, on the whole the diocese is sound.

    “Drama” is that what +Benjamin calls what is going on in the OCA – “drama” caused primarily by +Benjamin who has made it no secret that he was the front man for the take down of +Jonah? “Drama”? I can almost hear him saying it in that dismissive voice. But then again, maybe +Benjamin defines “drama” the same way as it applies to his DUI and voiding all over the backseat of a Las Vegas Police Department car when he was arrested and protested that the cops could not arrest him because he was a bishop! Now that is drama!

    Again we are introduced to another typical +Benjamin condescending explanation of the demise of the OCA. He calls it “drama” as duly reported in quotes by Fr. Jillions. I think it is a bit more serious than mere “drama” +Benjamin. You may wish to corral your intimidated clergy in the DOW by downplaying the ripping away of a duly elected Metropolitan as “drama” but it appears to be much more than that.

    If this is mere “drama” how come you all on the synod need to have cops both in uniform and plain-clothes patrolling the grounds of Holy Trinity in Parma?

    Thanks for the tidbit Fr. Jillions. You have no idea how much you actually say in your effort to say as little as you can.

  27. Actually, if you think a tad, internet gurus caused the security woe. Father Pepsi suggesting locking the church, for example..

    The mirror shines bright here.

  28. Despair. Silence is deafening. We must ask ourselves “What is the silence of the OCA leadership saying?” Something is being communicated. What is it? Are we all really idealists who have made an idol out of what the OCA should be? Are we really, as Abp. Nikon suggested, people who are putting their faith in a personality (Met. Jonah) rather than in the Church? Are we really trying to do among ourselves what is the job of the Synod and the OCA leadership? Are we really witnessing the movement of the Holy Spirit within the Synod? Is Synod genuinely moving forward, truly acting with inspiration? Are the decisions of the OCA regarding Met. Jonah and “moving forward” really manifestations of the will of God? Is the lack of reporting from Syosset and the Synod simply a desire not to entertain falsity and divisiveness? Is it a matter of not fueling that fire? Are the problems that arose under Mets. Theodosius and Herman really only about isolated instances, personalities, and not symptomatic of a historic and SYSTEMIC dysfunction that leads to sin and hell?

    Silence, lack of address, can be seen as tacit agreement. It can also be seen as passive aggression. It certainly demonstrates how the silent are valuing those they are ignoring. It devalues the ignored. This is why in psychology, silence is almost never recommended, but rather moderated communication. The silent treatment can, however, cover one’s posterior. By not addressing another when another is offering heartfelt concerns, is hurtful. It does not bring healing, renewal, or love — let alone Christ. If one disagrees with another, one can have a discussion about the issue without agreeing. Discussion is not consent. Rather silence (discounting) can appear that way.

    Perhaps the opinion is that any dialogue would be a pointless discussion that would end in more pain, difficulty and discontent, thus, we might as well not have it. This is not a reason to avoid discussion with one’s beloved. Rather, this can demonstrate that the other party may really have a valid point. It is true that the victims of abuse should not return and be in deep relationship with an abuser. Victims not dialoging with their abuser is valid silence. Bt that is not this situation, is it? Or is it the other way around? Example: If a Council of Presbyters who could articulate the concerned people’s concerns could approach the Synod and discuss the deeper problems, would it be allowed without punishment or blacklisting? (Deposition for dissenters?) Or are we faced with “either /or” solutions again? Either forget what has gone before, Met. Theodosius, missing millions, homosexual issues, protopresbyters putting out fires and “covering a multitude of sins” with money and the influential few running the church while others indulge. Met. Herman’s issues which were back to biz as usual. Abp. Benjamin being arrested for drunkenness, shaming himself and the church with immoral behavior in a police car and station, etc., and this with NEVER being suspended or questioned, as far as I am aware. Just forget, assume that it’s fixed or that the leadership a dealing with it, and return to how it was before the problems came out. The concerned certainly are not being acknowledged. With no opportunity to speak, and with fear of reprisals being the order of the day, what other options are there? Even if we forced the issue, letters from priests and bishops, laity, petitions, etc., we know they will receive the same response, being ignored, and punishment of deserters. What a rock and a hard place. Only the Lord can step into the gap. Lord save!

  29. Yana Porter says

    This is all quite evil and a serious travesty. This mess has gotten quite out of control if law enforcement is now being called in to “keep the peace” at something that’s supposd to be more or less a public meeting. How much more is this going to escalate before it ends I wonder?

    I realize Orthodoxy will survive, even if the OCA does not, but that doesn’t mean this mess is any less horrifying or horrible for us all.

    I am hanging in there with the OCA because I love the people I am surrounded with, including my priest, and my Canadian Bishops.

    This unfolding and worsening disaster must stop sooner rather than later. I hope the meeting in London brings forth something positive for us OCA folk.

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